IoT connectivity: potential problems and ways to solve them
The Internet of Things (IoT) is expanding around the world at a phenomenal pace. The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted a growing number of companies to further digitize their platforms. This, in turn, is leading to increased demand for IoT-related products and services. According to the McKinsey & Company report, the IoT could enable between $5.5 trillion and $12.6 trillion in value globally by 2030.
Connectivity in IoT deployments links gateways, applications, servers, and network routers together and enables them to perform the functions they were designed for. As connectivity unlocks opportunities across the IoT value chain, companies create thorough plans to harness their potential and discover how to overcome the IoT connectivity challenges.
In our article, we tried to highlight steps to help business executives identify the connectivity solutions that best meet their current needs. In addition, we cover the elements of a strong connectivity strategy.
Why is IoT connectivity so important?
In the Internet of Things, connectivity is fundamental, because, without it, the IoT can not exist. IoT connectivity is how we refer to the methods used to connect IoT devices — methods including applications, sensors, trackers, gateways, and network routers. However, within the industry, the term IoT connectivity is also commonly used to describe specific network solutions that can provide such connectivity (for example WiFi, Cellular or LPWAN, and so on).
As businesses use the IoT to create new products and enter new markets, the right connectivity method can also spur new opportunities for your growth and strengthen your market competitiveness.
When thinking about connectivity options and which one to choose, it’s worth selecting based on your IoT ecosystem’s bandwidth, data range, and power consumption needs. It’s also important to consider the amount of latency you’re willing to tolerate and the scalability of the IoT you need for your particular case.
Let’s look at the challenges you may face when adopting connectivity.
Connectivity challenges with IoT systems and possible solutions
There are a few hurdles that typically emerge when we are talking about IoT connectivity:
Challenge №1: Scaling the IoT ecosystem
Building the core infrastructure of your IoT ecosystem, it is worth considering not only your current connectivity needs but also future ones, as further migration to a new platform can be costly and even more challenging. If you don’t do this initially, you’ll face the additional burden of testing each IoT device for compatibility with the underlying networks and systems, and with other IoT devices, as you connect more and more devices to your system in the future.
Solution: Service providers, network operators, and other digital stakeholders must implement a connectivity solution that will support the maintenance management of load as the network grows. A simple solution here is to consider using an off-the-shelf platform to support your current and expected future needs instead of using free software to build the system yourself. You should always look for an experienced provider, who will deliver a platform that can support your successful IoT deployment around the world, help to optimize it and make IoT management simple, offer customizations to meet the challenges of a growing IoT system, and more.
Challenge №2: Maintaining cybersecurity
The growing number of connected endpoints creates vulnerabilities used by hackers, thus, there is extra room for concern among consumers and enterprise customers. Many IoT devices come with default security presets that do not meet the standards an organization must stick to.
Solution: Addressing this problem, IT administrators must examine devices and bring them up to company standards before installation, using best practices such as changing default passwords and implementing network segmentation, device identification, access control, authentication, personal data protection, and determination of the quality or source of the abnormal traffic to prevent distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. Such end-to-end security practices enable you to make changes quickly so that issues can be resolved before they are exploited by cybercriminals.
Challenge №3: Establishing compatibility
There are situations when IoT solution providers have their operating systems, but they can’t connect to other systems. In that case, the organization will have to connect all those devices to exchange data, and chances are there is no adaptive way to do it, or – it will cost a lot of money.
Also speaking of compatibility, when an IoT device communicates with another device and both devices are running different versions of the software, that can create performance issues. And as a result, data flow synchronization and compatibility between different smart devices in an IoT platform will also be hard to achieve.
Solution: To avoid a situation where you end up with a mix of independent IoT powerhouses instead of a single system, your IT administrators should check device compatibility immediately. Also, it’s always worth working with service providers who are taking steps to correctly integrate their products or services.
So far, we’ve described the possible solutions to the challenges you’re likely to face. Next, we share important strategies for connectivity implementation.
Tips to consider for your secure IoT connectivity
Here we mention some recommendations to keep in mind for a secure IoT deployment:
1) Control access to trusted networks. Unauthorized devices mustn’t be able to connect to your trusted networks. Also, create a detailed policy describing who has access and what each participant can and cannot do.
2) Ensure end-to-end security. Find out everything you can about potential vulnerabilities and make an attack surface map. For your data to be truly secure, you must protect it from the device, via networks, the connectivity management platform, and the cloud.
3) Check security compliance. Data protection and government regulations can be a challenge, so make sure all vendors and partners are compliant.
4) Focus on artificial intelligence (AI). Potential threat alerts are time-consuming to implement manually, so enlist the help of artificial intelligence.
Depending on the IoT ecosystem, there are complex and simple IoT solutions and IoT testing services to build and maintain. Having a trusted partner with the knowledge and expertise to support your system as it evolves is critical to the health of your business. The best providers go beyond customizing your platform, look at each customer’s core use case scenarios, and consider their specific requirements. All of this comes together to help create the best custom IoT software solution for your ecosystem.
Eisele Candace has 7 years of experience as a freelance technical writer, specializing in content related to IT technologies, programming and UI/UX design. Holder of a Master’s degree in Journalism and Public Relations. She also completed design and programming courses in “UI / UX design”, iOS and Python in Mansfield, OH. She has been already learning Rust programming language for a year.