We have discussed a lot on the future of IoT. Now it’s the time to talk about it’s challenges. So, I configured this post on IoT Challenges for you. People are buzzing that Internet of things, can do this miracle, can do that miracle, plus many other mesmerizing tasks from that blah, blah, blah category! I am not trying to deny the inevitable. There’s no second thought that IoT is the next revolution. It’s an amazing concept of technology.
Any technological concept which gets evolved with the time enters the user’s domain to solve some challenges.Otherwise it is of no use. Same is true about IoT.
Never before in the history of technology such a profound concept like IoT has entered human lives. But it’s still a vision. And to turn this wonderful vision into beautiful reality, is not an easy task. If not tackled intelligently it will bring the entire digital communication system at the helm of mass disruption and complete data chaos. Readers, pain doesn’t ends here!
TOP 10 INTERNET OF THINGS (IoT) CHALLENGES AND ISSUES
Nothing comes in this world without its own set of baggage! The same applies to IoT too. To know further please scroll down the Top 10 Challenges and Barriers to Internet of things. Let’s call, the problems, Big, Big IoT Challenges and isues Faced by Internet of Things, one by one here, in accordance with the nature of their gravity and severity;
Out of all the major impediments of IoT, Security is the prime one, sitting on our head and hounding us continuously. If security concerns are not arrested in time and brought to a logical resolution, it has all the required potential to put a brake on the unimpeded journey of IoT for ever!. If you will peep into the Oct 2016 Report of 451 Global Digital Infrastructure Alliance , then you will find that physically unsecured endpoints appears as the prime security concerns. It is standing on the top with a share of 63%, followed by poor authentication of IoT endpoints at a share of 55%.
The devices in the IoT Ecosystem Network continuously remit tons and tons of data! Anything which is there on the network is prone to attacks from the hackers. One thing should be very clear in your mind. Any piece of information which goes on the web cannot be removed in entirety. As per a research carried out by Fortify ( HP’s Security Testing Software Tool) approximately 70% of the consumer IoT Devices are grossly vulnerable. Password security, encryption and user access permissions are of prime concern.
Lot of Consumer IoT devices have access to user’s intimate details. For e.g the temperature of your bedroom, your fitness workouts, what you eat, at what time you go outside, your sleeping hours, and many other minute to minute details and behavioural patterns of your life is exposed on the network. Scaring reality is that any time these personal details of yours can be hacked! Imagine what will happen if a crooked hacker gets successful in hacking a device to which an audio device is attached? Suppose if he gets access to a device to which a camera is attached? Enough to give you lifetime nightmares!
IoT is all about connecting day to day devices like car, refrigerator, TV, Air Conditioner, sandwich maker, coffee maker, temperature sensor with each other and then further connecting them to a main controlling device, suppose your smartphone. Ideally it’s very good concept but the problem is that the system itself provides several entry points for the hacker to crack your crucial personal information!
Please don’t get confused between Internet of things Security Challenges and Internet of things Privacy Issues as it’s not the same. In the entire IoT Ecosystem there are four main working pillars:
a) Services- processes working on the back side of the System such as data mining, data analytics, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence. Their work is to give recommendations to the other pillar of the system.
b) Pipes– are networks and connectivity vehicles used to pass information from one process to another
c) Interfaces– are the input and out devices to feed data
d) People – are analogue creatures either a person or a thing using the information at the threshold of the ecosystem.
Now the most important question is that who owns the data captured from the interfaces? And is there any way through which we can forbid the hostile entities to not steal our private details? Who will take care of the privacy of the data. Who is going to guarantee that the personal details of yours will stay untouched? Such details are highly sensitive. As a user, are you comfortable leaving your sensitive information to wander on the networks, hopping from one database to another? Unless a trustworthy solution is developed to address these basic privacy issues, there is no point in making high claims that IoT can do this, IoT can do that!
The most dangerous thing is that most of the devices are transmitting the information on the networks without encrypting! Many of the devices are using cloud services which is equally vulnerable. Majority of the personal IoT devices can’t function without feeding the personal details. So what will you do? Either restrain yourself from using such attack prone devices or expose your sensitive information like health and credit cards details to roam aimlessly on the network!
Storage of Big and Big Volume of Data coming from the connected devices in the form of stream is a major issue. Let’s take an example of storage of Big Data from life Sciences landscape where the human genome needs to be sequenced. For each single sequence of one human, the sequencing process itself requires 2 terabytes of data.
And it’s just the beginning! Once you start doing further processing analysis on that data then, that 3 terabytes can easily go upto 7 terabytes! The problem doesn’t ends here. The matter which further enlarges the problem beyond a limit is that life Sciences Data needs to be kept for as long as possible.
Huge amount of data generated from the devices will trigger greater consumption of power. Will further increase the already overburdened cost aspects of running the system.
IoT is talking about giving us a super smart world, where each and every object related to our day to day lives will get the potential to understand their surroundings, send data to the cloud about the happenings in its environment. Theoretically it appears very nice. But to make it more meaningful and powerful individual IoT systems to interact with other systems in the Ecosystem,. It has to talk to other systems and work with them together. For that different IoT Systems needs to be integrated. They need to work in perfect cohesion with each other.
Speaking from the technical viewpoint, Interoperability is a Big one from all the major IoT Challenges. No doubt IoT has a huge potential. But 60% of its value is locked due to interoperability issues. In the future, definitely a time will come, when IoT will be successful in crafting a real cross domain system, facilitating harmonious movement of data as well as devices. IoT Standards- Making Bodies are fully behind to resolve the Interoperability IoT Challenges. But it’s a matter of years to bring it to a stage where it can fully extract the hidden potential of IoT.
Development IoT Challenges are a huge concern, acting like a major deterrent in the wider acceptability and further growth of Internet of things. The biggest issues is that companies jump into development before even accessing the impending challenges in their path. Forget about accessing, they don’t even properly know what they have to do!
Most of the IoT devices that companies have made till yet, I am sorry to say, are nothing else but useless! Companies, if you can listen then better listen, I am forced to yell out from here! “ I simply don’t want my thermostat, TV, Refrigerator, Sleeping Bed, Front Door, Lights or say even my phone to be controlled.
Honestly speaking, such crap devices are not simplifying the things. On the contrary it is further complicating the process. If you have the capability and calibre to develop something BIG, something really beneficial for the mankind, which solves a problem, then better do that! In the name of Super Cool Smart Devices, please don’t befool us!
Next issue is that most of the development guys possess expertise in software only. Now with the onset on IoT Revolution, apart from Software expertise, you also need to have sound background of hardware and software design and device programming. Before delving into IoT programming all of a sudden, every manufacturer and developer should seriously think about these Top 4 INTERNET OF THINGS(IoT) DEVELOPMENT ISSUES.
- Connectivity issues in IoT Developement– First of all, think about how your device will be connected to the internet and of course cloud too. Design and path of connectivity will vary in accordance with the environment in the which the device is going to be used. So the developer needs to weigh his options and zero in, his design decisions based on the available options.
- Security and Privacy issues in IoT Development– the most important thing which needs to be cleared is that IoT Security and Privacy issues are different from cyber security. Here I am talking about crucial security design points that you should consider before developing any IoT device.
a) Physical Security Concerns- As a developer, you need to ensure that the devices are not left open. Otherwise any crooked mind can easily tamper it. You will also have to take care of the stored data in it. None of the data should pass on from one device to another device without encryption.
b) Data exchange Security Concerns – the most important thing in IoT is to protect data while transmitting it from sensors to devices to gateways and then to Cloud. Encrypted transfer protocols should not be the end of security measures in IoT. It should also extend till account authentication and authorization.
c) Cloud Storage Security Concerns – the data stored in the cloud are also prone to security hacks. So proper encryption and access control checks should extend till the platform you are using to store data in the cloud.
d) Security Updates Issues– However hard you may try but security bugs, vulnerabilities and flaws are part of the development process. Handling such things quickly on the basis of a pre designed plan should be the most desired action.
- Flexibility and Compatibility Issues in IoT Development– We all know that IoT is continuously evolving and changing. So you will have to to design your product in such a way that it leaves room for future changes as and when required. If you are planning to program any particular device for any exclusive task, beyond any doubt, it will give you maximum results but at the same time it won’t give you that much flexibility and room for further updates and new features. On the other hand if you settle for a perfect storage and computing resources coupled with linux, Brillo or Windows IoT- then it can be possible that that it won’t fetch you maximum performance, but it will give the liberty to extend the features, patches and capabilities of the device in picture.
Compatibility again is a very important aspect and should be considered precisely before
developing any IoT device. It’s very important that the device in picture that you are going
to develop, blends nicely with the other devices in the IoT Ecosystem without any tantrums.
- Data Collection and Processing Issues in IoT Development- How much data is going to be generated from the devices in the entire IoT system and what further processing needs to be done on such data is also a very important challenge of IoT. You should seriously think about it from the beginning only, right at the stage of inception. Accordingly then you can decide on the kind of platform you require for cloud storage.
Next comes the data processing challenges. People are saying that IoT data is as worthy
as gold but if you are not analysing it properly for further actions, it is nothing else than crap for you.
To put the stored data for intelligent decisions, you need to have tools, and skills to
forecast future actions. For that you may require the help of analytics software, machine
learning tools and the of help data science.
Technological barriers- Out of the entire challenges of IoT,Technological
barriers seems to be the biggest and the most gruesome one. IoT has somewhere got stucked
in the reigns of technological barriers, where it is useful only for the enterprises. Agree or
not, IoT is still very hard to apply. Iot witnessed a decent revolution in the hardware field which
made the prices of sensors and boards very cheap. Software development part of IoT is still very
costly, complicated, time taking. Moreover, it is highly unpredictable. So IoT still remains the game of Biggies. This is something which is arresting the pace of IoT innovation.
Standardization issues in IoT- there are 4 different issues which are creating serious hurdles in the path of IoT Standardization, summarized as follows:
a) Platform- enumerates basic design of the product, data analytics to deal with the vast amount of data and scalability issues
b) Connectivity– from the consumer perspective, it includes, connecting day and night schedule, from wearables to smart cities whereas from the business perspective it includes connecting industrial internet of things where machine to machine communications is more important.
c) Business Model– unless we design and create a solid business model for IoT the entire hype is going burst soon.
d) Killer Apps– IoT can come true to the people expectations only when it creates killer apps to drive the business model with the help of collective platform which works for everyone.
IoT seriously is in bare need of a common set of standards and technologies, which facilitates
Compatibility and comfort to use. Right now there are very few standards and regulations set to
demarcate the things that are required to run an IoT device. But good news is that “IoT consortia”
has been formed and it is working seriously to standardize IoT.
Implementation again is a very big challenge for IoT. The complex and heterogeneous nature of the IoT components makes it even more difficult. Internet of things is a complete network of different physical devices. There are different components working under it. Sensors, networks, standards, smart analysis, smart actions are some of them to name.
a) Sensors– power consumption, interoperability and data security are some of the most prominent challenges being faced by IoT sensors.
b) Networks– exponentially increasing number of connected devices, security, network availability and power consumption are the issues with which IoT networks are struggling.
c) Standards– lack of standards for managing scattered data, data security and privacy concerns, regulatory standards for data management are some of the main challenges
d) Smart Analysis– erroneous analysis due to faulty data, legacy systems, level of assimilation of analytics within the IoT environment, dexterity to run unstructured data are some of the main challenges being faced by smart analysis.
e) Smart Actions– some of the issues in the path of smart actions of IoT are; machines’s action in entirely new circumstances, security and privacy of data, interoperability behaviour of machines, and sluggish acceptability of new technologies.
There are numerous wireless connectivity options in the market. Choosing the right one for your environment is really a tough and uphill task. Some of the crucial factors that needs to be considered are range of it, functional cost, endpoint cost, life of the battery, bandwidth etc. As per a latest forecast by Gartner, short range, low power networks will rule over wide area networks in wireless connectivity through 2025.
Some of the options that we have right now in IoT Networking Technologies are;
a) Bluetooth Low Energy– Designed to work best with low power devices such as -fitness trackers, medical devices, health monitors etc which handles less amount of data.
b) Bluetooth 4.0 – The main advantage of using Bluetooth 4.0 is that it facilitates the devices to stay connected for a higher duration, consuming very less power.
c) Google Thread – Regarded same as ZigBee, it is Google’s Open Protocol based on IEEE 802.15.4 networking standard.
d) ZigBee– basically it is meant to work for automation and control in IoT applications, used for secure connectivity in devices like thermostat, light controlling systems. Best suited for applications demanding supreme level of stability in varying scenarios.
e) Low power wide area Network– Designed to work in a wider environment. It offers seamless interoperability among the devices in the Ecosystem. It is meant for devices working in a regional, national and international network.
f) Cellular technology– it’s another great networking option. No doubt, it is costlier than other options but it offers trustworthy and secure services.
g) Wi-Fi– is another widely used network connectivity option for IoT devices.
Believe it or not, the biggest challenge that IoT is going to face in the future is arising out of the waste that it is creating for the environment. On the other hand, it is also expected that IoT is going to consume huge amount of raw material present in our environment. With each passing year, lots of devices are getting obsolete due to hardware upgrade and ending up in landfills. Around 20 to 50 million metric tons of e-waste are disposed worldwide every year. And this number is going to change soon due to accelerated growth of IoT.
Stream of data flowing through IoT networks require large data centers to handle them and process further actions that needs to be taken. And this results in mammoth consumption of energy by these data centers.
To shoulder off the burden due to additional energy consumption, we need to produce additional energy, which in turn leads us increased erosion of the scanty resources present in the environment. And yes, let’s not forget about the increased energy consumption and resources consumed to manufacture thousands and thousands of IoT devices every year.
Readers, I am extremely sorry for coming so late with this post! Out of all the posts that I have written on IoT, this one is the one, on which I have invested my maximum efforts. Now it’s up to you whether you like it or not. After researching for more than 2 weeks, I finally started penning down my thoughts for this post on IoT Challenges. It can be possible that I might have missed some of the IoT Challenges to put them here. If some other key challenges are brimming there in your thought process, please make them appear in the comments. It will broaden my knowledge as well as of others.
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