M2M Summit 2015: Keep it simple and secure

M2M solutions are driving the networking of our everyday lives forward on a massive scale. The opportunities seem almost unlimited. At this year’s M2M Summit in Düsseldorf it was clear, however, that along with the success stories the industry has yet to work on standardization and security solutions that are suitable for a mass market.

“In the future, economic growth will mainly be internet-based and data-driven. That will result in a whole range of new business models, and it will also modernize existing forms of business activity and will thus lead established companies to find new ways to grow,” Sigmar Gabriel, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, wrote in his M2M Journal message of greeting. At the M2M Summit, Gabriel was represented by his State Secretary Matthias Machnig, who said in his keynote speech that small and midrange enterprises must be made fit for digitalization. Many SMEs, he said, were currently uncertain – and reluctant to go in for digitalization for fear of, say, losing know-how.

 

 

Dr. Alexander Lautz, Senior Vice President M2M, Deutsche Telekom, also sensed uncertainty among small and midrange enterprises. “We are constantly overloading customers with technical details and terminology. They aren’t much interested in them,” he said, “what they want is simply a secure and reliable solution to their problem.” That was why the industry must reduce complexity in customer communications and applications. An important step in this direction in his own company is, Dr. Lautz said, the Cloud of Things, a cloud-based administration platform for M2M solutions. It especially helps small and midrange businesses to manage their machine park simply and centrally. The platform also provides rudimentary functions for further processing of the data acquired.

Electric scooter in the cloud

 

The M2M Summit’s 650 visitors were able to gain a clearer idea of the benefits of the Cloud of Things at the Deutsche Telekom booth, where a connected Kumpan electric scooter was showcased. The cloud platform enables owners of the scooter to check the battery charge level or the scooter’s location, for example, via an app. Along with the Cloud of Things, Telekom also presented the Multi-Domestic Service (MDS), an offering from the Global M2M Association (GMA). GMA members include, in addition to Deutsche Telekom, Orange, TeliaSonera, Telecom Italia, Bell Canada, SoftBank and – a recent new member – Swisscom. The jointly organized MDS is intended to facilitate the provision of global M2M services on the basis of a common infrastructure and an eSIM solution.

Along with simplicity, issues that dominated the talks and discussions in Düsseldorf were standardization and security. Prof. Dr. Axel Sikora of University of Applied Sciences in Offenburg gave in his keynote address an introduction to the subject of standardization. At present, he said, more than 200 standardization organizations were active in information and communication technology. Sikora saw a risk of there being too many standards. That was why in his address he sought to structure a conflict situation. “Originally,” he said, “standards were developed by public bodies, state organizations, or generic engineering organizations. What we have seen in recent years is that the significance of these public bodies has diminished dramatically. Recent activities have been by industry sector alliances that build independent standards.” Also, the heterogeneous landscape led to different viewpoints, i.e. the emergence of device, framework, gateway, and cloud-oriented standards.

 

M2M and IoT security the greatest challenge

 

The experts see interoperability as the least of their problems. Drawing up standards for secure machine-to-machine communication is, they say, much more important. The security of M2M applications is currently considered to be the most serious challenge that the industry faces. Yet there is little readiness to spend more on the security of M2M solutions. That is why the providers manufacture them at as low a cost as possible. With secure products and solutions requiring powerful hardware and more energy, the subject of security is deliberately ignored.

 

Läetitia Jay, VP M2M Solutions & Services at Gemalto, emphasized that although integrating security might entail costs at the same time it helped to create confidence. In her keynote she advised users first to identify the security gaps and then to evaluate the risks that they posed. The next step should be to eliminate the security gaps. Jay stressed that security was a process and must therefore be constantly checked and improved. Svetlana Grant, Project Director at the GSMA, raised the issue of security in her speech too. She pointed out that the industry could take a major step forward by means of small campaigns such as calling on users to choose secure passwords.

Tags: pictures , impressions , global m2m association , gma , M2M Summit , Internet of Things , Machine-to-Machine , M2M , IOT , cloud of things

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