TMCnet Feature
February 26, 2020

5 Myths About IoT Solutions, Development and Engineering

The number of devices currently available in the Internet of Things (IoT) is expanding at a rapid rate. Currently, there are billions of products available and hundreds more are being added every year. It’s taking a huge number of developers, designers and engineers to make this possible.

Yet, there are still numerous myths circulating in regard to how IoT engineering is done, what it is exactly, and the issues that are involved.

Whether you’re an engineer interested in the Internet of Things, or just curious to learn more about this quickly expanding industry, here are a few of the most common myths - and the truth regarding them.

Myth #1. There’s No Such Thing as IoT Engineering:

Is IoT engineering actually real? Yes, it is. Because of the various protocols and services involved with IoT products, it differs quite substantially compared to building a simple mobile or wireless device.

These days, IoT engineering involves a whole lot more than just adding a web browser to a wireless device. Features like predictive failure analysis must be performed. Anybody possessing IoT engineering skills has an awesome opportunity to find lucrative work designing these connected devices set to power the smart future.

How does one become an IoT engineer?

  1. Decide on an area that appeals to you: The Internet of Things is a vast and multidisciplinary field incorporating a range of technologies, particularly when it comes to industry-specific applications. If you’re considering getting into the IoT, chances are that you find a certain aspect particularly appealing. This could be security, programming, hardware device programming, systems engineering, networking, or maybe something else.
  2. Pursue your education: You may need to pursue a formal education, depending on where you’re at in your career right now. Many of the necessary skills for working in an IoT engineering job are included in both undergraduate and postgraduate programs on computer science, electrical engineering or engineering management which is available from Kettering University Online. If you are already in the workforce, pursue professional development opportunities that lead to IoT positions.
  3. Get active in the IoT engineering community: Skills and qualifications are, of course, absolutely essential - but landing your dream career as an IoT engineer often comes down to who you know. It’s a wise idea to join an engineering community with an IoT focus, whether virtually or in person. Doing so increases your chances of staying current with industry trends, getting crucial information on job opportunities and fine-tune your skills.
  4. Be creative: Beyond the practical qualifications and experience required, creativity is absolutely essential. Any IoT engineer must be willing to think outside the box regularly as we’ve only just reached the tip of the iceberg in terms of the IoT’s innovative potential.

Myth #2. IoT is Intended for In and Around the Home:

When you think of the Internet of Things, the first thing that comes to mind for most people is smart home devices. Garage door openers, sprinkler control, thermostat control, and even voice-controlled light bulbs are all some popular IoT devices that are becoming more and more used in homes around the world today. You may even utilize some of these technologies in your own home. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth tend to provide sufficient range for these technologies.

But the Internet of Things goes much further than simply producing technologies to make homeowners’ lives easier. Opportunities for connected technology outside of the home are rapidly growing and include:

  1. Insurance: Assessment of risk and appraisal of value in the event of a loss are the cornerstones of the insurance industry. Until now, these have been primarily based on a reactive model. When a damage or loss occurs, a claim is issued. The IoT has made it possible for a more preventative model to evolve; embedded sensors inside homes and property can raise alerts before an event occurs.
  2. Smart cities: In cities, a wealth of IoT sensors are deployed for a variety of benefits, including traffic management and infrastructure. Just as it would in a smart home, the Internet of Things is able to protect both buildings and citizens in smart cities. Connected cameras, sensors, and other monitoring tools are being used by authorities in cities around the world to cut down on emergency response time or help better determine threat levels of incidents for better budget allocation.
  3. Hospitality: Connected hotel rooms or smart serviced apartments are, essentially, miniature implementations of popular smart home technology. For customers, the experience tends to be similar to that at home when staying in an apartment or hotel room complete with connected devices. However, there are also huge benefits for management. Keyless entry systems grant easy access for maintenance, cleaning and service calls. In hotels, resources and money can be saved by granting guests access to conference rooms or other facilities without the need for a member of staff to be present.

Myth #3. IoT is Just About Big Data:

The idea that the Internet of Things is another big myth - mainly floated by the IT sector. But, it's certainly not a fact. Big data is an idea that useful information can be extracted from large sets of data and with the rise of the IoT, everybody has started to attach this idea to any smart and connected devices.

In some cases, it is certainly true. Data being aggregated can often be source from IoT devices, however, this is not typical, and certainly not a requirement of the majority of IoT devices these days. Many devices are paired with an application on a user’s smart device, and the data generated by IoT devices doesn’t even scratch the surface of big data limits. Just because huge data can be generated from IoT devices doesn’t mean that it will, or has to be generated.

Myth #4. Every IoT Device Can Be Hacked Remotely:

The myth that every IoT device can be remotely hacked, and therefore most come with extreme security, is one of the biggest myths these days. In fact, it’s pretty far from the truth.  It is not possible to hack every IoT device remotely - and in some cases, they can even be difficult to hack locally. Working on an IoT solution incorporates a wide range of issues to be dealt with. This includes:

  • SSL
  • Encryption of data
  • Collateral damages
  • Physical device security
  • Misuse

For example, imagine a temperature sensor is sending temperature readings at certain intervals to its hub or gateway directly to the internet. This device would be difficult to hack. How could somebody change how this device works? If the device is only transmitting the data and does not normally listen, how could a hacker modify and break it?

Enabling the interconnectedness of the ‘things’, is the primary advancement of IoT. However, that very connectedness does indeed raise important concerns for security and privacy that must be addressed.

For IoT engineers, security is a key component that should be incorporated into every step of the IoT product design process; not simply added on as an afterthought. It’s an absolute must-have, especially since the number of connected devices today is outstanding.

According to Norio Nakajima, executive VP at Murata, there are already more connected devices than there are people on the planet. The potential for a breach is enormous - which is why security must be built in as a priority to any IoT product design. As a result, not every IoT solution is easily hackable. Due to the high priority for security, there are only a few vulnerabilities.

Myth #5. It’s Easy to Deliver an IoT Solution:

This is probably the biggest myth out there! Open source tools and cheap boards and software packages have led to a mindset that delivering an IoT solution is a fairly easy and simple process. But it’s simply not true.

Getting an IoT device communicating with a user application is just the very start; and any basic development kit can help you achieve this in no time. However, the challenge then lies in moving from a single to multiple IoT devices, and then managing to successfully monetize it while maintaining high levels of security, privacy and reliability. An IoT solution involves multiple aspects.

Real IoT solution developers have a huge range of factors to consider at every point of the design process, including:

  • Business feasibility
  • Product feasibility
  • User education
  • User acceptance
  • Servicing and maintenance
  • Liabilities

An IoT solution is far more valuable than simply a connected product like a smart product, a mobile app, application program or cloud software. Each IoT solution development process needs to touch base with at least seven different crucial stages, in order to ensure a meaningful, viable and useful solution to the end user.

Many of the above myths lead to further debate to figure out the facts surrounding the Internet of Things and IoT development and engineering. Whether you are an aspiring IoT engineer or looking to develop a business around an IoT solution, have a professional and balanced approach to filter out the facts from the hype. IoT is quickly taking over the world, and with more connected devices than people, it’s a lucrative industry to get into.

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