According to the latest industry reports, the number of connected devices will reach more than 125 billion by 2030. This figure presents a huge opportunity for device and service providers, as they look for ways to unlock the full potential of the Internet of Things (IoT) and capitalize on this market opening.

Whether these devices are smart wearables, connected cars and machines, consumer electronics or smart city deployments, they will only deliver value for enterprises and consumers if they can ensure a safe and secure experience and this does not come without challenges.

If the industry is to seize the huge opportunity the IoT represents, these challenges must be addressed, with security – one of end-users’ top concerns – being a top priority. Thankfully, there is a solution – a horizontal one in fact.

Devices, devices everywhere!

As smart devices become increasingly present in the home, office, and car, as well as across every industry vertical, each deployment presents new security challenges and requirements, generating numerous hurdles in the adoption of IoT on a mass scale.

Many of these devices are connected to a proprietary cloud platform which collects and analyses the data generated by the device for algorithms and insights to provide user-focused services. This massively increases the amount and sensitivity of the data, raising concerns around security and how to prevent hackers obtaining the data illegally and misusing it, putting consumers and businesses at risk.

Due to the nature of the sensors and actuators the IoT integrates – which directly impact on people’s living and working environments in the real world – those operating in the IoT chain can no longer put security on the backburner. This is particularly true in industrial environments, where security glitches could present safety concerns that have never been contemplated before, with a breach potentially resulting in a life-threatening situation.

It is clear that consumers are waking up to this reality, with Parks Associates’ ‘Network Security’ survey revealing that almost half of consumers rank data security and privacy issues as one of their top concerns about connecting their devices to the Internet.

True Value

The other big must to ensure IoT’s success on a mass scale is delivering an experience that truly enhances end-users’ environments. The use of M2M/IoT technology is complex by definition, as it includes a wide range of functions, as well as numerous devices and servers.

The complexity that comes with adding multiple devices to an IoT ecosystem needs to be hidden from end-users via a simple, easy-to-use interface which allows control of their operations, be it a connected home or smart factory, through one system. If end-users need to operate different, complex systems or the experience is disjointed in any way, this adds stress and additional actions which will inhibit adoption.

In addition, the data sharing the IoT enables must bring clear value.

Think horizontally

The horizontal linking of data through a universal, standards-based approach is an effective solution to these challenges. By harmonizing data models to provide a cross-vertical and multi-vendor interoperability authentication of each application or device, multiple devices from various industries and verticals can be brought together on the same platform. This ensures the data generated by these applications is shared in authorized way to allow safe and secure data sharing for end-users.

The oneM2M standard provides this framework for IoT deployments, giving a blueprint for a horizontal platform which consists of an abstraction layer to allow every component in the deployment to communicate. Through this abstraction, oneM2M hides the complexities involved in interacting with a diverse set of IoT devices from the app developers and provides a standardized entry point for service providers to deploy their services.

Security is one of the areas that can be addressed through this approach. One of oneM2M’s partners is GlobalPlatform, which protects digital services and devices by standardising and certifying a security hardware/firmware combination, known as a secure component.

Combined strengths

This collaboration provides a clear, standardised infrastructure for end-to-end security, where the oneM2M platform uses services from secure components hosted in each IoT device end-to-end solution to security concerns.

It is at this same level that GlobalPlatform security technology can be applied to a device or service to protect each individual device both inside and out. Once up and running, the update of GlobalPlatform’s components becomes possible remotely via end-to-end secure scripts which complement oneM2M’s existing Device Management Protocols – the Broadband Forum’s TR-069 and the Open Mobile Alliance’s DM and Lightweight M2M (LWM2M) protocols.

By providing a standardised access point to IoT resources, it can address the diverse trust assumptions and security requirements of IoT applications in a range of markets. Service providers benefit from improved remote administration and management of secure services through integrated support of GlobalPlatform technologies, and IoT app developers can easily handle the multiple security levels.

Unlocking the full potential of IoT

By adopting a collaborative, end-to-end approach to the IoT and its various challenges such as security, the entire ecosystem benefits from added value. If this approach is taken from the outset of any new deployment and baked into every aspect of it, including devices, a global roll out of IoT technologies can follow, complementing end-users’ home and business lives, rather than further complicating them.