If you recently visited one of the many consumer trade shows, it was hard to miss the proliferation of Internet of Things (Io T) devices targeting home automation. Anything from simple temperature sensors and
wirelessly controlled power outlets to complex home gateways are the future
of the intelligent connected home. Add to that a plan by all major appliance
manufacturers to include connectivity capabilities into their product line and
you are left with a very complex ecosystem of devices. Simply connecting
all of these devices will be a challenge, not to mention ensuring their
interoperability, and more importantly, establishing trust.
There are numerous connectivity standards that will be used to connect
devices in the intelligent home: Bluetooth (LE), WiFi, Zigbee, Zwave, etc.
Most of these connectivity standards have specified cryptographic algorithms
and protocols to protect the communication channel. However, protecting
the communication link does not establish trust between devices, it simply
encrypts the connections between a node and its access point or hub. In
order to build trust, these devices need to authenticate to one another. Today,
the industry is at its infancy as it relates to Io T standards. Multiple alliances
(AllJoin, Thread, Home Kit, etc.) will drive their own implementations of
authentication protocols before standards bodies such as IEEE and IETF
publish common standards that ensure device interoperability and ease of
use. In the meantime, Io T products need flexible designs able to react to new,
undiscovered threats and to adapt to new protocols.
Security plays a critical role in the market adoption of the Io T. It’s easy to
imagine a scenario in which an intruder uses a connected appliance to gain
control of someone’s smart home or access to their personal information.
Whatever the application, security must be addressed from the initial
design and remain the core component of the system. This is essential in
the deployment of these devices and the promise behind the intelligent
In the intelligent connected home, routers, home gateways, and other Io T
hubs will represent critical components of the home Io T ecosystem. It is
likely that multiple Io T hubs will be present in many homes, and hubs take
on many forms. Some of these will be specialized for particular applications,
others for particular wireless or broadband protocols. Hubs may take the
form of a traditional router with or without integrated broadband technology,
a cablevision, satellite TV or IPTV set-top box, or a common home appliance.
It is likely that, as is common now, a single gateway will connect the home
to an external broadband or wireless network, and will also act as aggregation
and control points for end point devices connected through the short range
wireless standards mentioned above. The home gateway will in some cases be
responsible for securely communicating data to and from the cloud, enabling
premium services such as streamed 4K content, and may occasionally be
Ensuring security in the
The importance of ensuring protected connections in the IoT.
By Ogi Brkic, VP of Marketing and Business Development, Elliptic Technologies