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Internet of Things –Challenges, Perspectives and Opportunities

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What is Internet of Things (IoT)?
The Internet of Things represents a vision in which the Internet extends into the real world embracing everyday objects. Physical items are no longer disconnected from the virtual world, but can be controlled remotely and can act as physical access points to Internet services. The Internet of Things vision is grounded in the belief that the steady advances in microelectronics, communications and information technology we have witnessed in recent years will continue into the foreseeable future.

“Smart” objects play a key role in the Internet of Things vision, since embedded communication and information technology have the potential to revolutionize the utility of these objects. Using sensors, they are able to perceive their context, and via built-in networking capabilities they would be able to communicate with each other, access Internet services and interact with people.

All „Things“ connected

The digital world is expanding rapidly, doubling in size every two years according to a recent report from IDC (The International Data Corporation) and EMC (Digital Universe Study). More and more data are being generated extremely from the ever-expanding number of connected devices, i.e. “things” – from washing machines, refrigerators, and microwaves to cars and thermostats – expected to account for 10% of the 44 trillion gigabyte digital universe by the year 2020.

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We are still early in the adoption of the IoT and the disruption in its truest sense is yet to be witnessed.  However, economic and technological barriers are receding, and with the increase of connected devices and evolving analytics capabilities, the possibilities for IoT seem limitless.
However, with lots of advantages of the IoT, comes also a range of both benefits and concerns – improved connectivity and communication between humans and things brings increased concerns over privacy, data security and regulation. While the opportunities for IoT are great, significant challenges still remain. IoT implementations are complex, given the need to connect with the cloud, manage and analyze data in a secure way, and integrate with existing infrastructure.

One of the biggest challenges behind IoT is to transform this huge amount of generated, raw data into valuable knowledge.

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“I firmly believe that the EU Commission will continue to support research in IoT in Horizon 2020, the forthcoming EU research and innovation framework programme starting in 2014”

 

Global Market Value of $1.9 Trillion by 2020

According to Frost & Sullivan’s, Milroy says the “explosion” of Internet of Things  over the next few years will be driven by “the nexus of low-cost sensors, cloud computing, advanced data analytics and mobility.” Transportation and logistics represent the biggest revenue opportunities today for an Internet of Things ecosystem, she adds. “The deployment of low-cost, IP -enabled sensors within things that move products around and operate within the actual products opens vast opportunities far beyond just the supply chain optimization.

There are gains to be made in many industries such as transportation, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, energy management, facility management, security and surveillance, utilities, telecom, finance, insurance and many more. Basically, every sector in every system will be part of the connected world.”

Gartner predicted that the global economic value of IoT will be $1.9 trillion by 2020. IDC estimates that devices connected to the Internet will generate nearly $9 trillion in annual sales by 2020.

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Example of IoT implementation in Transportation

The Internet of Things can be used by public transportation systems to automate a variety of tasks for both riders and employees. Bus operators can see their position in route, ticket sales, camera and more. They can control music and video. The system also allows for location-based advertising. And bus riders – how about a text a few minutes before the bus arrives or an ad for a nearby shopping center on your way home from work.

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IDC describes the IoT as a network connecting – either wired or wireless – devices (things) that is characterized by automatic provisioning, management, and monitoring. It is innately analytical and integrated, and includes not just intelligent systems and devices, but connectivity enablement, platforms for device, network and application enablement, analytics and social business, and applications and vertical industry solutions. It is more than traditional machine-to-machine communication.
Indeed, it is more than the traditional Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry itself.

The Internet of Things Is Redefining Enterprise IT
The Internet of Things (IoT) is changing the business playing field, creating opportunities for
new sources of revenue, smarter interactions with customers, and greater efficiencies. Yet IoT introduces new technical challenges. How do you securely connect intelligent devices via the Internet to your enterprise, capture data at the “point of action,” and analyze huge volumes of machine-generated data in real time?

The Internet of Things will be one of the most disruptive technology trends of the next decade, with sweeping implications for businesses and policymakers.

„The real promise of the Internet of Things lies in the ability to combine machine-generated data with data created by humans for deeper insight, understanding, and real-time decision making.“

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Opportunities and Challenges of Connecting Your Business to the Internet of Things

Opportunities:
o    Create and Deliver new experiences for customers – offer new services, enhance existing products and build entirely new ways of doing business.
o    Cost reduction and efficiency – The right combination of connected devices, infrastructure, data analytics, and processing – specific  to the industry – can help companies reduce costs incurred due to operational inefficiencies – such as delays in response time, waste of assets, process inaccuracies and loss due to human error.  One can take advantage of the almost boundless potential provided by the mass quantities of data produced in IoT transactions and making it valuable through advanced analytics.
o    Risk management – Enterprises are exposed to risk in the physical and virtual security of assets and data, the physical safety of workers – especially those deployed in the field. With connected devices and the organization of data, business can now take informed decisions to better manage risk associated with being open for business.
o    Opportunity in revenue growth and innovation – Nearly three-fourths of enterprises who express interest in adopting IoT solutions are looking for new business opportunities and ways to fortify existing products.

Challenges
o    Concerns on Security and interoperability – make CIOs unsure of the economic rewards relative to the risks of implementing IoT solutions. Consumer-facing functions are more vulnerable to risk related to breach of privacy security concerns.
o    No clarity on ROI – IoT providers (of hardware infrastructure, software, communications, and devices) have yet to articulate compelling propositions for how IoT solutions can drive lasting economic value for the enterprise

Peek at the Future

The Internet of Things – simply thought of as “the extension of the Internet to the physical world”– will reshape the way business is done across every sector of the economy and every industry. It will bring previously offline businesses and processes online.

It will redefine companies’ entire business models, their relationships with their customers, and the structures of their organizations.

The Internet of Things is the next big thing. It offers businesses the opportunity to develop new services, improve real-time decision making, solve critical problems, and develop new end-user experiences. IoT is driving a world of increasingly connected devices, seamless connectivity from sensors to the data center, cloud economics for computing and data, and the acceleration of big data analytics. This sounds great, but how does this relate to your business? Or to your existing and legacy infrastructure?
How can IoT solutions be deployed efficiently? And what are some real life examples to learn from?

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Science & Technology

Cybersecurity depends on the user

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Businesses and pharmaceutical companies have become prime targets for cyber criminals. For many employees switching to work from home has made them more vulnerable to cyber attacks. Amid the continuing coronavirus pandemic the focus is shifting on digital hygiene and training. These are top issues outlined by the participants of a round table which  took place at TASS Press Center under the title “Cybersecurity: new threats and protection against them”.

At present, a large number of high-tech medical equipment is connected to the Internet. Given that medical institutions are not used to new threats, they often fall prey to cyber criminals. At times, hospitals have to pay ransom in order to restart the equipment vital for patients’ lives.  The participants in the round table cited yet more tragic cases when the ambulance equipment glitch forced the driver to head for other hospitals, which means that patients in critical condition may not make it there.

Cyber threats have been haunting not only the  medical industry. President of Check Point Software Technologies in Russia and CIS Vasily Diaghilev has singled out 3 key challenges in the new reality. Firstly, the decision-taking time limit has shortened considerably, — the market proved unprepared for this (unlike in the past, when months were given to elaborate decisions on cyber security, now a mere days are given to do so). Secondly, the criminal groups which had to go online as well, were provided with new financing to “work” in the cyber sphere. Thirdly, user vulnerability went up due to a wide variety of hacking methods.

Alexei Novikov, Director of Security at Positive Technologies, disagrees with such a view. The transition to online work has increased the number of vulnerabilities making it possible for the criminals to find new loops. Hence cyber security has come to depend on the competence of particular individuals. Earlier, information security was guaranteed “along the perimeter of corporate network”. Now, when practically everyone is working from home, family members have got access to the data too. In  addition, employees often connect  their  personal “smart devices” of the  Internet of  things to their corporate networks.

Experts who took part in the round table provided specific recommendations as to how to boost digital security. Founder and General Director of Zecurion Alexei Raevsky warned companies which are not supposed to store loads of data against doing so. Alexei Raevsky described all the data (for example, for electronic passes), which they collect on a regular basis in the conditions of a quarantine, as a “time bomb”. Vasily Diaghilev has urged individuals to refrain from using (and called on companies to impose restrictions on this practice on a mandatory basis) corporate passwords on external servers, in addition, he recommended coding corporate data, and in order to secure protection against destructive files, he advises to switch to the safe pdf-format in paperwork. “Info security should enter mass market as a taxi – a kind of digital security outsourcing”, — Lev Matveev, Chairman of the Board of “SearchInfoorm”, member of the Association of Software Manufacturers “Russoft”, says. Besides, he recommended including VPN-apps and services into public (free) WiFi-networks.

From our partner International Affairs

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Top 10 Emerging Technologies to Watch in 2020

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From virtual patients to pain-free needles, synthesizing whole-genomes, and digital medicine, these top 10 emerging technologies are transforming our post-COVID-19 lives. An international steering group of experts singled out these and other emerging technologies as the ones most likely to impact the world in the next three to five years.

For example, a Swiss group was able to synthesize the entire COVID-19 genome by reproducing the genetic sequence uploaded by Chinese scientists. They were essentially teleporting the virus into their laboratory for study without waiting for physical samples. The ability to write our genome will inevitably help doctors to cure genetic diseases.

As we now move to clinical trials of a COVID-19 vaccine, virtual patients, instead of living humans, could help identify successful vaccine candidates, reduce costs, and speed up research. It would also prevent the testing of imperfect vaccine candidates on living volunteers.

While the outbreak unfolded, dozens of medical apps and bots were developed, expanding the digital medicine landscape. These apps could detect depression and provided counselling. Bots answered over 200 million inquiries about COVID symptoms and treatments. COVID-19 will continue to shape our lives, and these emerging technologies could fill the gaps created by the pandemic.

The list also includes new technologies that can help combat climate change by tackling major polluting industries. These new green technologies include innovative planes, new concrete formulations and using sunlight to power refineries.

Top 10 technologies to make the list are:

Virtual Patients

Virtual patients, instead of living humans, could make vaccine trials quicker and inexpensive. This technology would significantly reduce the number of human subjects needed for experimentation.

Microneedles for Painless Injections and Tests

These tiny needles promise pain-free injections and blood testing. Microneedles do not touch nerve endings. Since the process does not need costly equipment or a lot of training, they can be used in areas that do not normally receive cutting-edge medical technologies.

Whole-Genome Synthesis

Whole-genome synthesizing will transform cell engineering. The ability to write our genome will inevitably help doctors to cure genetic diseases.

Digital Medicine

Digital medicine is a collection of apps that detect and monitor the mental and physical health of patients. These apps and bots can enhance traditional medicine and provide support to patients with limited access to healthcare.

Electric Aviation

Electric propulsion motors would eliminate direct carbon emissions. This technology could also reduce fuel costs by up to 90%, maintenance by up to 50% and noise by nearly 70%. Currently, about 170 electric airplane projects are underway.

Lower-Carbon Cement

Concrete, the most widely used human-made material, shapes much of our built world. If cement production were a country, it would be the third-largest emitter after China and the US. Researchers are working on lower-carbon approaches by changing the recipe, using different materials, and using carbon capture and storage technologies.

Sun-Powered Chemistry

This approach uses sunlight to convert carbon dioxide waste into needed chemicals manufactured from fossil fuel. This approach could reduce emissions in two ways – by using unwanted gas as raw material and using sunlight as the source of energy instead of fossil fuels.

Green Hydrogen

Current methods of producing hydrogen are not environmentally efficient. Green hydrogen, produced through electrolysis, has no by-product, unlike current processes. Green hydrogen could transform industries that require high-energy fuel.

Spatial Computing

“Spatial computing” will bring together raise reality apps and sensors to facilitate human-machine and machine-machine interactions to a new level. It combines these capabilities and controls objects’ movements and interactions, allowing a person to navigate the digital and physical world.

Quantum Sensing

Quantum sensors enable autonomous vehicles that can “see” around corners, underwater navigation systems, early-warning systems for volcanic activity and earthquakes, and portable scanners that monitor a person’s brain activity during daily life.

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Can ‘Open Science’ speed up the search for a COVID-19 vaccine? 5 things you need to know

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The UN is calling for authoritative scientific information and research to be made freely available, to accelerate research into an effective vaccine against the COVID-19 virus, help counter misinformation, and “unlock the full potential of science”.

Arguing that no-one is safe until everyone is safe, the World Health Organization (WHO) has, for several months, been urging countries and scientists to collaborate, in a bid to bring the pandemic under control. This has involved the creation, alongside governments, scientists, foundations, the private sector and other partners, of a groundbreaking platform to accelerate the development of tests, treatments and vaccines.

In October, the head of the agency, Tedros Ghebreyesus Adhanom, alongside human rights chief Michelle Bachelet, and Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of science, culture and education agency UNESCO, issued a call for “Open Science”, describing it as a “fundamental matter of human rights”, and arguing for cutting-edge technologies and discoveries to be available for those who need them most.

But what exactly does Open Science mean, and why does the UN insist on making it more widespread?

1) What is ‘Open Science’?

Open Science has been described as a growing movement aimed at making the scientific process more transparent and inclusive by making scientific knowledge, methods, data and evidence freely available and accessible for everyone.

The Open Science movement has emerged from the scientific community and has rapidly spread across nations. Investors, entrepreneurs, policy makers and citizens are joining this call.

However, the agency also warns that, in the fragmented scientific and policy environment, a global understanding of the meaning, opportunities and challenges of Open Science is still missing.

2) Why is Open Science important?

Open Science facilitates scientific collaboration and the sharing of information for the benefit of science and society, creating more and better scientific knowledge, and spreading it to the wider population.

UNESCO has described Open Science as a “true game changer”: by making information widely available, more people can benefit from scientific and technological innovation.

3) Why is it needed now?

Because, in a world that is more inter-connected than ever before, many of today’s challenges do not respect political or geographic borders, and strong international scientific collaboration is essential to overcome the problems. The COVID-19 pandemic is a prime example.

We also have the tools to make it happen: with digitalization becoming ever more widespread, it is far easier than ever before to share scientific knowledge and data, which are needed to enable decisions that can lead to overcoming global challenges to be based on reliable evidence.

4) What is the impact of Open Science on the pandemic?

In this global health emergency, thanks to international collaboration, scientists have improved their understanding of the coronavirus with unprecedented speed and openness, embracing the principles of Open Science. Journals, universities, private labs, and data repositories have joined the movement, allowing open access to data and information: some 115,000 publications have released information related to the virus and the pandemic, and more than 80 per cent of them can be viewed, for free, by the general public.

Early in the pandemic, for example, Chinese scientists readily shared the genome of the virus, jumpstarting all following research into the virus, and the diagnostic testing, treatments, and vaccines that have since been developed.

Finally, the crisis has underlined the urgent need to bring science closer to decision making and to society as a whole. Fighting misinformation and promoting evidence-based decision-making, supported by well-informed citizens, has proven to be of vital importance in the fight against COVID 19.

5) What is the UN doing to promote Open Science?

To ensure that Open Science truly meets its potential, and benefits both developed and developing countries, UNESCO is taking the lead in building a global consensus on values and principles for Open Science that are relevant for every scientists and every person independently of their place of origin, gender, age or economic and social background.

The future UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science is expected to be the international instrument to set the right and just standards for Open Science globally, which fulfil the human right to science and leave no one behind.  

In a statement released on World Science Day for Peace and Development, celebrated on 10 November, Ms. Azoulay said that widening the scope of Open Science will help science to “unlock its full potential”, making it more effective and diverse by “enabling anyone to contribute, but also to bring its objectives in line with the needs of society, by developing scientific literacy in an informed citizenry who take responsibility and are involved in collective decision-making”.

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