IoT trends for 2018

Here is a list f IoT predictions for year 2018. With the number of connected devices set to top 11 billion – and that’s not including computers and phones – in 2018, Internet of Things will clearly continue to be a hot topic. Here is my prediction list:

1. Artifical Intelligence – it will be talked a lot

2. Blockchain – blockchain will be hyped to be a solution for many IoT problems, and it will turn out that it is not the best solution for most of problems it is hyped for – and maybe it will find few sensible uses for it in IoT. Blockchain can add immutability and integrity to some IoT transactions.

3. 4G mobile for IoT: NB-IoT and LTE-M are ready to be tested or used in many markets

4. 5G will be hyped a lot for IoT applications but it is nowhere near for any real big IoT use cases

6. Security issues will be talked a lot. IoT security is far from solved issue.

7. Privacy issues of IoT will be talked a lot when our homes and pockets are starting to be filled with ever listening digital assistants.

8. Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) will be massive

9. More CPU power will be added or used in the edge. Pushing processing power to the “edge” brings a number of benefits and opportunities.

10. Hardware based security: Hardware based security on microprocessors will be talked a lot after “Meltdown” and “Spectre” disaster

Links to more predictions:



  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    AI, cloud, and IoT will drive 2018 growth, say chip makers

    Artificial intelligence, cloud computing, and the internet of things (IoT) will have bigger impacts on the revenues of chip makers in 2018, according to accounting firm KPMG‘s survey of 150 semiconductor industry leaders.

    Two-thirds of the leaders cited IoT as one of the top revenue drivers, up from 56 percent in last year’s survey. Cloud computing and AI were each cited by 43 percent of leaders, compared to 27 percent last year for cloud and 18 percent for AI. Wireless communications was at the top of the list, but it was cited by fewer respondents this year.

    “The increasing demand for IoT, AI, and cloud applications is driven by their individual value and their value to each other. Cloud infrastructure is critical to enabling AI and capturing IoT-produced data. AI will enable better analysis and use of the data,”

  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    IoT Security News: Attacks, Encryption and WAP3

    The new year kicked off with major security-related news. On January 3, we learned that billions of CPUs are vulnerable to the Meltdown and Spectre side-channel attacks, which can be used to access sensitive data, including passwords, cryptography keys, and files. Since then, chip makers and cloud service providers have been scrambling to develop and deploy patches for the vulnerabilities.

    The Unbreakable 7,775

    FBI Director Christopher Wray called unbreakable encryption an “urgent public safety issue” during an early January talk at the International Conference on Cybersecurity (ICCS) in New York. According to Wray, the FBI was unable to break into 7,775 devices during the last year. “Warrant-proof” encryption has been debated by tech leaders, politicians, and law enforcement since 2016

    WAP3 Is on Its Way

    Last fall, WIRED reported that the Key Reinstallation Attack (KRACK) Wi-Fi security exploit would affect wireless devices for decades to come. Fortunately, in early January, the Wi-Fi Alliance—which includes Apple, Microsoft, and Intel—announced WPA3 security protections to replace the flawed WPA2 security protocol. Here are the key points according to the Alliance:

    The Alliance will maintain WPA2 and will not immediately replace it with WPA3
    “Robust protections” for users who do not follow password complexity recommendations
    Simplified configuration for devices with no display or a limited display
    Compliance with the Commercial National Security Algorithm (CNSA) Suite
    Individualized data encryption for users using open networks

    The Alliance did not provide technical details with its announcement.

  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Chip Aging Accelerates

    As advanced-node chips are added into cars, and usage models shift inside of data centers, new questions surface about reliability.

    Reliability is becoming an increasingly important proof point for new chips as they are rolled out in new markets such as automotive, cloud computing and industrial IoT, but actually proving that a chip will function as expected over time is becoming much more difficult.

    In the past, reliability generally was considered a foundry issue. Chips developed for computers and phones lasted an average of two to four years of normal use. After that, functionality began to degrade and users upgraded to the next rev of a product, which boasted more features, better performance and, longer periods between battery charges. But as chips are developed for new markets, or markets where there were less-sophisticated electronics in the past-automotive, machine learning, IoT and IIoT, virtual and augmented reality, home automation, cloud, cryptocurrency mining-this is no longer a simple checklist item.

    Each of those end markets has unique needs and characteristics, which affects how chips are used and under what conditions. That, in turn, has a big impact on aging, safety, and other factors.

  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Secure Development Lifecycle for Hardware Becomes an Imperative

    Given recent events, its time for chip makers to take a page from the software vendor handbook and step up their game in heading off potentially costly threats.

    A Secure Development Lifecycle (SDL) for hardware with appropriate hardware security products could have prevented the recent Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities affecting Intel, ARM and AMD processor architectures. An SDL is the process of specifying a security threat model and then designing, developing and verifying against that threat model.

    Many in the software domain are familiar with SDL, which is a process invented by Microsoft to improve the security of software. To make this process as efficient as possible, the software domain is filled with widely deployed static and dynamic analysis tools to provide automation around security review for various stages of the development lifecycle.

  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Design small, wearable, battery-powered IoT solutions–wearable–battery-powered-IoT-solutions

    The Internet of Things (IoT) relies on hardware with the smallest size and the least power loss. Common design goals of size and efficiency for a power design tend to be mutually exclusive and so tradeoffs are unavoidable. This usually requires the designer to compromise with an increase in product size to obtain a specific power consumption goal. However, with an integrated power management IC (PMIC) operating three independent switching regulator outputs while using a single inductor, both size and power loss are minimized to enable IoT hardware with a compact form factor operating from a Li+ cell.

    The proliferation of the internet across all sectors, from residential and commercial to industrial, continues to fuel exponential growth in data acquisition. Autonomous “smart” things – i.e., appliances, automotive, healthcare and wearable devices, robotics, and other technologies that can identify themselves on the internet – process data and collectively form the network commonly known as the IoT. Although the definition of a “smart” thing in the IoT world loosely defines a node that generates information of substantial value, the implementation details of the hardware responsible for data acquisition requires meticulous design planning.

    Maximize battery capacity

    A battery is a temporary, unregulated power source for portable electronics that comes in two flavors: primary, which defines a one-time use power source, and secondary, which in general provides half the energy density but allows recharging. The most common rechargeable cell chemistries are lithium-ion (Li+) with a nominal voltage of near 3.7V: LiMn2O4, LiCoO2, LiNiO2, Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide (NCM), and Lithium Nickel Cobalt Aluminum Oxide (NCA). One rechargeable cell chemistry – LiFePO4 – has a nominal voltage around 3.3V. While powering a device, the battery becomes loaded due to its finite source resistance. As a result, the available voltage of the battery decreases while in use due to the current consumption of the load.

  6. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Teardown: Amazon Dash Wand with Alexa–Amazon-Dash-Wand-with-Alexa

    At intro, for Amazon Prime subscribers such as my household, the Dash Wand was effectively free (well, ok, I ended up paying $0.90 in sales tax): buy it, activate it, and a $20 Amazon gift card shows up in your account in short order. You don’t even need to use the Dash Wand to actually order anything before you get the kickback … therefore this teardown. But as I said, you still needed to activate it. And given that I ordered it direct from Amazon, it (like many of its Amazon-branded peers) shipped pre-configured with my account and preferred Wi-Fi network credentials already stored; setting it up via the Amazon smartphone app was therefore incredibly easy

    I’ve (for privacy-preservation reasons) grey box-blocked out both the UPC and alphanumeric sequence associated with my unit’s DSN (Dash Serial Number). This code, as its name implies, is device-specific and is also associated with my pre-configured Amazon account information.

    In the upper right corner is a Wolfson Microelectronics (now Cirrus Logic) WM8904 audio IC for driving the speaker and handling the microphone input. The microphone itself is on the far right, next to the QR code sticker; you’ll shortly see how the incoming audio gets to it. At the lower right corner, below the WM8904, is the speaker’s twisted-pair connector. In the middle is the main system processor, an Atmel (now owned by Microchip) ATSAMG55J19A-MU (PDF) ARM Cortex-M4-based microcontroller. In the upper left corner is Texas Instruments’ TPS61091 3.3V-output boost converter. And in the lower left corner is a Micron M25Q128A serial-interface NOR flash memory.

  7. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Edge servers ease network congestion

    Many upcoming networked applications demand massive bandwidths and real-time communication in small form-factor edge servers with dedicated interfaces. COM Express Type 7 server-on-module boards are appropriate platforms for designing such dedicated micro servers for the edges.

    Public and private network operators need to provide an appropriate infrastructure for 1 GbE (Gigabit Ethernet) enabled devices. As more and more devices get connected, they need to eliminate oversubscription ratios in 1 GbE switched networks. A 10 GbE network is consequently the next logical step, as existing CAT 6/7-class infrastructures can be re-used. But it is not only the oversubscription that calls for more network bandwidth. There are also many high-performance applications demanding increased speed. Application areas include but are not limited to:

    Access edges to broadcasting infrastructures
    Service provider datacenters for video and audio streaming as well as SaaS
    Local carrier-grade infrastructures for the mobile edge
    Metropolitan and larger private networks
    Cloud and edge servers on enterprise level
    Storage attached networks (SANs) for Big Data storage
    Intelligent switching technologies and smart NAS devices
    Fog servers in Industry 4.0 applications
    Edge nodes for wireless smart sensor networks
    Collaborative deep learning computers

    Different real-time demands

    Most of these applications have not only massive bandwidth demands, but also demand real-time communication capabilities – a video stream for example. Tolerable latency here ranges from 6 to 20 ms [1]. Similar latency demands occur everywhere in networked applications because nobody wants to wait for the system once an application’s button has been clicked.

    Consider autonomous vehicles used in intralogistics applications, or cyber-virtual factories where many hard real-time PLCs need to be synchronized, and where collaborative deep learning robots need to have situational awareness by ultrasound and video streams, and act without any delay. Here, the latency limits get even tougher, and overstepping a limit is critical as it can lead to unacceptable system failures or hazardous situations. So one can see that there are different real-time demands in networked applications, which is why any server technology has to deal with real-time capabilities.

    Managing the design challenge of customization

    Exactly for these heterogeneous systems, the PCI Industrial Computer Manufacturers Group (PICMG) launched the new COM Express Type 7 server-on-module specification to help engineers overcome the design challenge of building dedicated server technologies at viable price points by utilizing commercial, off-the-shelf components. Servers-on-module are application-ready components that offer engineers design efficiency, as they only need to design an application-specific carrier board.

    Time-sensitive networking support

    Since real-time support is key for these server designs, server-on-modules also support a software-definable pin for each of the 10 GbE interfaces. This physical pin can be configured as an input or output and is driven by the corresponding Ethernet controller. A typical application is the implementation of a hardware-based IEEE 1588 timing protocol for high-performance real-time applications to realize 802.1 timing and synchronization of distributed real-time systems. Possible applications include converged networks with real-time audio/video streaming, and real-time control streams which are used in automotive or industrial control facilities.

    By implementing 802.1 compliant time-sensitive networking, designers can ensure that all devices have a common understanding of time, and that they use the same rules in processing and forwarding communication packets, selecting communication paths, and in reserving bandwidth and time slots – possibly utilizing more than one simultaneous path to achieve fault-tolerant failover modes

  8. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Energy-efficient encryption for the internet of things

    Special-purpose chip reduces power consumption of public-key encryption by 99.75 percent, increases speed 500-fold.

  9. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Google to acquire Xively IoT platform from LogMeIn for $50M

    Google announced today that it intends to buy Xively from LogMeIn for $50 million, giving Google Cloud an established IoT platform to add to their product portfolio.

    In a blog post announcing the acquisition, Google indicated it wants to use this purchase as a springboard into the growing IoT market, which it believes will reach 20 billion connected things by 2020. With Xively they are getting a tool that enables device designers to build connectivity directly into the design process while providing a cloud-mobile connection between the end user app and the connected thing, whatever that happens to be.

    “This acquisition, subject to closing conditions, will complement Google Cloud’s effort to provide a fully managed IoT service that easily and securely connects, manages and ingests data from globally dispersed devices,” Antony Passemard from Google wrote in the blog post.

  10. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Blockchain & IoT Convergence: Is It Happening?

    The centralized architecture of most IoT solutions means that there is serious potential lack of resilience. Blockchain is an emerging technology that could help with system resiliency.

    Many obstacles are slowing down the adoption of the IoT.

    First, the market for IoT devices and platforms is fragmented, with many standards and many vendors. There is ongoing uncertainty about the technology, the vendors and the solutions offered.

    Second, there are concerns about interoperability, as the solutions implemented often tend to create new data silos.

    Data in the cloud is often stored securely, but cloud-based security implementations cannot protect your data against devices with compromised integrity, nor against data tampering at the source.

    Blockchain is an emerging technology that could help with system resiliency.

    According to IBM, the three benefits of blockchain for the IoT are building trust, cost reduction and the acceleration of transactions:

    Building trust between the parties and devices with blockchain cryptography and reducing the risk of collusion and tampering
    Reducing cost by removing the overhead associated with middlemen and intermediaries
    Accelerating transactions by reducing the settlement time from days to nearly instantaneous

    How would a blockchain-based system accomplish all of this? IBM’s point of view is that all devices in the blockchain should have the resources to run the blockchain software. With every element in an IoT system able to process blockchain data, suddenly blockchain becomes the solution to every problem! Well, not entirely.

    A key element of distributed ledgers is that they are open; they are not usually ‘owned’ by any one entity. Any computer connected to a distributed ledger is called a ‘node’. Most of the nodes are lightweight (or at least lightweight relative to the capacities of cloud servers), and so they don’t hold the full ledger. Each ‘block’ within the ledger has a maximum size of 1 MB. A small desktop computer can easily hold a full copy of the ledger, but this is not the case with the majority of IoT devices. Any blockchain system needs at least a few ‘full nodes’ containing the complete ledger.

    Another issue is that you need the proper security credentials to view a transaction. So, IoT security issues are still present when using this technology. Device commissioning and secure key management are still ongoing issues with IoT devices, and not solved by blockchain.

    Yet despite these benefits, the blockchain model is not without its shortcomings. These include:

    Scalability. Blockchain does not yet scale very well. This might lead back to centralization, defeating the purpose of the distributed ledger.
    Processing power. Small devices do not have the power required to perform encryption for all the objects involved in a blockchain-based ecosystem. The forecasted billions of IoT devices will be produced in very large volumes and at very low cost, and the majority of these devices will not be capable of running the required encryption algorithms at the desired speed.
    Storage. Even if blockchain eliminates the need for a central server to store transactions and device IDs, the ledger has to be stored on the nodes themselves. The ledger will increase in size as time passes. This is beyond the capabilities of a wide range of smart devices such as sensors, which have very low storage capacity (either internal flash memory or external NOR or NAND flash).
    Lack of expertise. Few people understand how blockchain technology works. Mixing blockchain and IoT technologies adds great complexities to a system.
    Interoperability issues. It is well known that the value of the IoT rises when you can combine data sources. We already lack data model standards for many vertical markets. Adding blockchain to the mix will only make this issue more difficult, not to mention the legal and compliance issues that such transaction management will create.

  11. Tomi Engdahl says:

    IoT Chip Security with Highly Secure Manufacture and Test Service

    The recent Meltdown and Spectre problems have highlighted the vulnerability of computer chips to hacking that can, at least, be addressed through software patches. However, another area that is increasingly a target for hackers is IoT where each node in an IoT network can provide an entry point to a company’s corporate systems, in a similar manner to the way that home security cameras, robot vacuum cleaners, etc. have been hacked. Presto Engineering is offering a comprehensive manufacturing and test service that is tailored to ensure IoT chips are made to high standards of security.

    “According to analysts, there are already billions of IoT chips in use,” said Martin Kingdon, Presto’s VP of Sales. “This figure is predicted to grow exponentially, driven by the ability of IoT to monitor and provide hard data on which actions can be taken, such as scheduling pre-emptive maintenance before a failure can happen. But the rush to design and make IoT chips has often meant that security has been overlooked, or not included, in the drive to a lower price. This is false economy as these chips can be vulnerable to hacking giving access to confidential data streams.”

    Handling these securely in the manufacturing supply chain is vital to an effective security strategy and is covered by the Common Criteria for Information Technology Security Evaluation standards. These range from the basic Evaluation Assurance Level 1 to Level 7 for government and military, with Level 5 being typical for banks, payment systems, and other highly demanding commercial application.

  12. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The Week in Review: IoT
    NXP’s value; port IoT; 31B connected devices.

    National Instruments introduced the IC-3173 IP67 Industrial Controller, which is suitable for Industrial IoT applications in harsh environments. The controller incorporates time-sensitive networking and can help engineers integrate highly synchronized sensor measurements with the new TSN-enabled CompactDAQ Chassis.

    Market Research
    IHS Markit predicts this year will see more than 31 billion connected IoT devices deployed around the world. The firm’s IoT Trend Watch report identifies four key drivers of IoT technology: Innovation and competitiveness; business models; standardization and security; and wireless technology innovation.

  13. Tomi Engdahl says:

    San Diego-based ON World forecasts 141 million low-power wide-area networking devices will connect in smart cities around the world by 2022, a 12x increase. The firm’s “Smart Cities LPWA” report is available here

  14. Tomi Engdahl says:

    IoT in Action: 3 considerations for securing everyday IoT devices

    From industrial machinery to self-driving automobiles to toasters, the next decade promises the democratization of connectivity to every electrical device. But along with the proliferation of the Internet of Things (IoT) comes the all-important question of security.

    An IoT-enabled device as seemingly benign as a teddy bear can be compromised and used to spy, deceive, or worse.

    But IoT security done well means you don’t have to let these attacks deter you from building your own IoT solution.

    Download and read the report by Microsoft Research NExT Operating Systems Technologies Group to learn more about how to secure your IoT devices.

  15. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Announcing “Project Things” – An open framework for connecting your devices to the web.

    Last year, we said that Mozilla is working to create a framework of software and services that can bridge the communication gap between connected devices. Today, we are pleased to announce that anyone can now build their own Things Gateway to control their connected device directly from the web.

  16. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The indoor air quality IoT solution won

    The Future City Challenge, organized by IBM, Digita and Etteplan, together with the Finnish cities, culminated yesterday in the selection of the Grande Finale and the winner. The winner was selected by the City of Espoo, Heads’n Tails, whose solution permits a healthy indoor environment for schools and kindergartens.

    In the winning TeamTeamTails air quality IoT measurement solution, sensor data is combined with people’s physical experience feedback and information from different systems. The solution includes predictable machine flight analysis and can be integrated into existing city systems. The implementation also allows for a proactive analysis to address the situation before problems arise.



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