MindMeld: IoT

DeveloperTown & Indesign Mind Meld: IoT

Indesign and DeveloperTown hosted an event focused on IoT technologies at DeveloperTown. Our presentation focused on IoT Software and the need for ensuring the ability to keep devices updated while gathering, analyzing, and auctioning on data received. Indesign examined different wireless technologies and methods to collect data in the field with end point devices.

What makes IoT devices different?

In the end, it’s just a merger of the internet with physical things, but it comes with some special considerations. People have an expectation when they buy a product that it will continue to work in the future and it leaves a bad impression when a company shutters a product. In some instances, these devices are installed permanently and the last thing you want is a reminder to your future customers in the form of a dead device permanently attached into their wall. Because of constant state of flux of the internet you also need to be prepared for some things you expect to never change to suddenly change.

  • Communication
    • Communication channels need to support updates over time, and software should be configured to request updated endpoints on boot up to allow updates without a full firmware reflash.
    • No matter what the communication infrastructure is, it will occasionally go down. Plan for sane behavior when this happens.
  • Firmware Update Management
    • The method of firmware update should be chosen based on the device’s function and expected uptime.
    • Manufacture time flashing only means significantly less software to develop but there is no risk mitigation in the case of an unforeseen infrastructure change.
    • Local flashing only provides software that is easier to develop with the ability for user intervention, however users may never instigate an update.
    • Over the air flashing allows for automatic updates however there is a risk that updates may interrupt service at an inconvenient time for the user.
  • Security
    • Up front audits should be used to analyze risk levels.
    • The system must be designed in such a way that a single compromised device cannot be used to enter the rest of the system.
    • There are various ways to segment which MQTT device can speak to which channel. These can be kept in sync with the permission models to limit attack area.
  • Open API Opportunities
    • Creating a space that is tamper evident, rather than tamper proof provides an easy way for others to add functionality while dis-incentivizing platform hacking.

Doing IoT right means delivering connected devices which benefit end users, support ongoing updates, keep data secure, and provide valuable data back to the organization. This requires a combination of strong device and data partners.

For more on the hardware side of IoT visit Indesigns’ blog .

Download the entire presentation here