IoT Standardization Is Need Of The Hour

by Sohini Bagchi    Apr 09, 2015


The Internet of Things (IoT) often sounds like the futuristic wave of talking refrigerators, flying robots and self-starting cars. While IoT is still nascent, in the coming years, Internet-connected devices that communicate with one another will affect our lives – both at home and at work. In a recent interaction with CXOtoday, Guru Ganesan – Managing Director, ARM India, discusses the trends, challenges in the IoT space and explains the importance of IoT standardization.

What are the key trends in the IoT space?

According to a study conducted by the International Data Corporation (IDC), the Internet of Things will be over worth $7.1 trillion by 2020. As per BI Intelligence, 1.9 Billion legacy systems and equipments such asparking meters to home thermostats are already online - and by 2018 that number will top 9 billion.

Trend wise, primarily; there is an increasing focus on consolidation by IoT technology providers. Since what a successful IoT deployment needs, is an amalgamation of many aspects like hardware, network, software, communication protocols, encryption, data analytics, cloud etc. With such varied technologies at play, there is indeed a necessity to make things simpler for the IoT developer and consequently the end user.

Secondly, the launch of IoT focused units in many businesses worldwide is noteworthy. IIoT can add to a company’s bottomlines by improving operational efficiency and aiding risk management and resolution. So there is a very clear and present benefit in adopting it. Whether it’s related to fleet or livestock management, power plant monitoring or agriculture, the benefits of a sound adoption of IoT are tremendous.

Thirdly, while Human IoT(HIoT) topics like Smart Home, Smart Health, Connected accessories etc. have been popular; there is a significant interest in Industrial IoT (IIoT). 

Can you elaborate on the impact IoT will have on businesses? Which segments are benefitting the most?

The big shift would be in the widespread adoption of Big Data and consequently, a highly ‘data driven’ decision-making. A good deployment of IoT means a business’s access to critical historic and live data, with no bounds on environment or geography. Data from a mine 500 meters below surface could be used to drive safety, logistics or resource management on the ground. Precipitation readings over several hectares of farm lands can trigger targeted irrigation systems and help save on water costs. Roads can communicate traffic density or snow build up and call for appropriate, targeted assistance. With such large amount of data to process, every business would need to adopt data mining and would need to provide decision makers with access to data dashboards. 

So, with widespread adoption of IOT in businesses, the need for good software systems and data mining algorithms will automatically arise. Every company will also be a software company in some sense.

Connected cars, Smart cities, Traffic management, Smart health, Power generation, Infrastructure monitoring and Agriculture are some of the areas which will see considerable benefits.

What are the key challenges within the industry?

The primary challenge which needs to be tackled lies in networking and addressing. IoT will add billions to trillions of new unique addresses to the Internet, which could lead to depletion of IPV4 address space. 

From a network perspective, while more traffic is good for carriers, too much traffic is bad. Networks would need to evolve and industries would need to work in conjunction to alleviate the impact of all the additional data which IoT based systems will add.

The requirement of multi-stream data will add an additional level of complexity to this. An IoT standard is also seen as a challenge and mbed ( consortium is a significant step towards addressing this.

What according to you are the top 3 aspects of IoT that businesses should know ?

Adoption of Industrial IoT (IIoT) does not require incurring significant monetary, time or resource investment. For traditional established industries, it can rather be adopted as an incremental improvement over existing systems. Since this can help the business realize what sensors and systems to deploy and which metrics to measure. Gradually, more and more systems could be enabled.Human IoT (HIoT) wise, what is needed is a simple seed idea which enables a small group do a specific task really well.  

It is also critical to adopt a standardized IOT solution to ensure devices of all types and capabilities can connect through interoperable Internet Protocols and Web Services. The ecosystem aims to address this by bringing together companies who are experts in the domains required for IoT deployment. 

What is ARM’s contribution in the IoT space?

Depending on their operational areas or domain expertise, many providers are developing improved solutions to their existing offerings in order to better serve the demands of IoT implementations. But it’s the availability of and end-to-end solution spanning hardware, software, security, etc. through an industry-wide collaboration is what is needed for successful deployment of IoT.

ARM and its partners have a long history of success in the embedded and mobile space and IoT is, to put simply, a connected, yet larger version of it. ARM based CPUs and designs can be found on some of the tiniest and most power efficient products and implementations on the planet. With this in mind, last year, ARM along with around 25 other partners shared a disruptive vision of an end-to-end IoT based solution called mbed device and server operating system (OS). The client OS is free. It additionally also contains licensable IoT management server software and all the critical solutions needed to help tackle other aspects of IoT deployment. This helps improve time to market significantly.

Aspects like security and encryption, cloud deployment, communication necessities and protocols like CoAP (ConstrainedApplication Protocol), 6LowPAN (IPv6 over Low power Wireless Personal Area Network), m2m (Machine-to-machine) support etc. are built into the OS. So there is very little which an IoT developer would need to build from the ground up. 

What are the growth drivers for IoT in India?

IoT related Ideas such as Smart cities, Smart monitoring, and urban infrastructure planning can significantly help reduce the overall resources needed in a country like India. Most of these are linked to the government or the local civic body’s initiatives. We believe their paving the way could showcase the benefits of IoT adoption well.  Once the savings in multiple verticals are realized and available for everyone to appreciate, growth from then on, would come in quickly and perhaps exponentially.

Secondly, many aspects of IoT are software and service driven like Big Data hosting, Big Data analytics, monitoring etc. And with everything connected to the internet, these solutions can be monitored, operated from anywhere across the globe. With a strong IT backbone, and the software talent pool, India is placed well to capitalize on this opportunity.

What kind of IoT investments do you see companies making in this space?

The investment needed in adopting IoT depends on many factors like the number of end points deployed, types of sensors required per end point, frequency of data collection, network bandwidth and system uptime requirements, the end-point’s operating conditions etc. Most manufacturers and designers of IoT systems though, do pay special attention to TCO. So depending on the business’s need, the investment required could vary drastically.