By David Navarro, IoTerop’s Chief Product Officer.
Analysts nearly uniformly agree that the main obstacles to mass deployment and adoption of IoT will be security, device management, and interoperability. Indeed, millions of connected devices that make up the Internet of Things need to be switched on, configured, provisioned for services, maintained, updated with software, possibly switched off and on again. And ideally, all this needs to happen remotely, securely and with interoperability across devices and networks.
In many cases in current solutions, Connected Objects data is sent unencrypted and can be intercepted, falsified or too easily misused, leading to potential security breaches. Therefore, it is critical that IoT developers add security features during the design phase of their IoT solution development. Such a mechanism shall provide a guaranty in terms of managing the data exchange integrity but also in terms of proofing the network as devices are added. IoT developers thus need to choose a security mechanism adapted to the characteristics of the targeted connected object devices and network environment taking into account: limited memory, computing power, energy availability and bandwidth availability. In addition, an IoT developer would certainly prefer to rely on a security mechanism that is standardized and widely used in the Industry, thus proven robust, interoperable and sustainable.
In addition, Connected Objects may need to evolve in a challenging environment. For example, parking sensors can be buried under 40cm of concrete. Therefore, it is important to put in place standardized, comprehensive administration services to manage different devices aspects, such as: maintaining connectivity, data recovery, security, changing parameters such as the frequency of collecting data or software upgrades. Most deployed objects today don’t incorporate such features or it is very limited and/or proprietary. However, this trend is likely to reverse itself in the future as adoption spreads and the costs and drawbacks become clearer to administrators and solution providers alike. Relying on proprietary management and remote control mechanisms will cause incompatibility between administration methods and various connected objects interactions resulting in additional maintenance and management costs. At the contrary, relying on standardized Device Management methods results for developers in making their solutions scale easier and reducing their integration time and hurdles, and consequently maintenance costs.
Today, most IoT solutions available are proprietary and incompatible with one another. Costs incurred due to the fragmentation are too high for the suppliers, developers and users of IoT services. The foundation of any IoT strategy should allow for the collection of information from any open, compatible device in order to future proof solutions and best leverage investment. In this way information, defined in a standard data model, shared and understood via a standardized protocol will enable IoT developers to collect, share, process data and actuate devices securely and efficiently.
Developers seeking to mitigate the challenges of security, interoperability and device management should consider implementing a standard-based solution using recognized industry specifications such as OMA’s Lightweight M2M.
Indeed, one such industry standard gaining rapid market acceptance is Lightweight M2M from the Open Mobile Alliance. OMA’s Lightweight M2M (LwM2M) is a device management protocol designed for sensor networks and the demands of a machine-to-machine (M2M) environment. With LwM2M, OMA has responded to demand in the market for a common standard for managing lightweight and low power devices on a variety of networks necessary to realize the potential of IoT. The LwM2M protocol, designed for remote management of M2M devices and related service enablement, features a modern architectural design based on REST, defines an extensible resource and data model and reuses and builds on an efficient secure data transfer standard called the Constrained Application Protocol (CoAP), standardized by the Internet Engineering Taskforce (IETF) as a variation of the Internet’s HTTP. LwM2M has been specified by a group of industry experts at the Open Mobile Alliance’s Device Management Working Group and is based on protocol and security standards from the IETF.
The Eclipse Wakaama project, hosted by the Eclipse Foundation, is a reference implementation of the OMA LwM2M standard. This project, initially created by 3 experts in embedded systems coming from Intel, David Navarro, Jacques Bourhis and Hatem Oueslati, has open the opportunity for them to create their own company, IoTerop, now mainly leading and maintaining the project code base. In addition to its inclusion into IoTerop’s products IOWA and SensorHub, Eclipse Wakaama is adopted by many industry vendors, including Sierra Wireless and Bosch. It helps the open-source community to easily adopt a standard-based approach while dealing with Security, Device Management and Interoperability requirements in their products and solutions. David Navarro, IoTerop CPO, continues to be the Wakaama project lead, maintainer and principal committer.
IOWA is the commercial version of Wakaama, an industrial-grade OMA Lightweight M2M stack for embedded devices, gateways and server infrastructures. It contains a lot of additional value-added features such as built-in Security, IPSO data model support, Firmware Update features, a very high-level and efficient API set and many others. IOWA is packaged into a powerful SDK allowing an easy and efficient integration onto any operating system and targeted hardware. IOWA performance and compliance against OMA standards and other industrial-grade OMA based products (Operators DM infrastructures, IoT Management platforms, industrial device products) is thoroughly tested.