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.