Monday, 5 October 2015

Power Game of Internet of Things!!!


In the early 1970 we started connecting Computers, then during 2005 we connected people through social media and now devices. The objective of IOT is to reduce the people interaction and take better decisions based on the available data. The aim is to make life more comfortable. Similarly every enterprise is becoming a software company at heart and hence companies like Uber is successfully disrupting the non-software based transportation Industry. Hence in a long run all these gaps in various industries will be filled by the software innovations. Hence every industry like power, transportation, agriculture, manufacturing, healthcare etc will integrate to one common infrastructure which is the Internet. Most of the industry which we thrive on today has already got onto the internet platform. Education is online via e-learning and MOOC, E-commerce on online shopping from grocery to any utility, Healthcare from medical consultancy to surgery, Government via e-governance and so on…
Due to the beginning of the dominance of the next superpower, many institutions are trying to influence the internet world and their supporters. In this scenario, the political power game has begun of who is much stronger and who can gain a larger share of the internet world and control the digital space.
On the contrary we are also starting to witness a trend of falling monopolies – Windows dominance is disappearing as most of the desktops will be replaced by mobile phones and mobile apps which will be operated by other OS (Currently android is a clear winner). Search engines are past and might disappear soon, because Facebook, LinkedIn, Wikis will rule individual searches, the telecom towers will be replaced by Internet exchange points etc…

Windows Phone
BlackBerry OS
Source: IDC, Aug 2015

The question we need to ask is: who controls the content in the Internet? Who monitors the IOT? Hence many power centers are emerging like the ICANN vs ITU war not to forget the Darknet world. All this power game is on as North America and Europe are the 2 leading geographies for cybersecurity revenue contribution, according to many global research reports.

Now imagine when devices get connected globally which is also currently happening. This will lead to many governmental interferences leading to privacy and censorship issues when approximately 15-20 devices will be connected to every person.

Few statistics to focus on:-
1980- Cell phone subscribers: 11.2 million
1990- Cell phone subscribers: 12.5 million (0.25% of world population in 1990)
-          Internet users: 2.8 million (0.05% of world population in 1990)
2002 - Cell phone subscribers: 1.2 billion (19% of world population in 2002)
-          Internet users: 631 million (11% of world population in 2002)
2010- Cell phone subscribers: 4 billion (67% of world population in 2010)
-          Internet users: 1.8 billion (26.6% of world population in 2010)

Internet penetration today (2015) is 40% and the effort is to get the remaining 60% into the internet platform. Even though I am certain that there will be multiple standards in the IoT space, I am curious to know what will dominate IoT space where billions of devices will be connected. Because at the end of the day there has to be one universal standard like TCP IP which has to be accepted globally for communication.

In 1996, (5 billion was the human population) more than 80 percent of Internet users were native English speakers. By 2010, that percentage had dropped to 27.3 percent.(Anywhere up to 1.8 billion people around the world speak English). Just to bring a different comparison, it will be interesting to know which language as well as protocol standard will rule the internet (just like the dominance of English Language in the world). Currently many protocols such as NFC, BLE, Cellular (3G/4G), Zig-bee, Wi-Fi, 6LowPAN, Z-wave etc exists for IOT connectivity. Some are also industry specific protocols and standards and some are driven by big enterprises who command due to early entry into the IOT space. Also few unique startups in the IOT space which will disrupt the industry in few years!

I feel, One infrastructure – internet means only and only one standard protocol. Like IP version4/6 has standardized the communication there has to be one standard of communication for IOT.
Today if I have to make a directory…I am not sure if everybody would like to list their names and phone numbers in a public forum….Reason is TRUST DEFICIT! There is a trust issue and hence people are moving towards other alternatives like darknet and hence to a safer place. I strongly feel this trust issue will change over a period of time. This will evolve and become the trusted and more convenient system like banking system. (Like the more convenient browsing because of HTML 5).When banking system was introduced 400 yrs ago it also had trust issues. Nobody would go and deposit their hard earned money with someone. But it has evolved over a period of time and people started trusting the banking system and has come out of this initial distrust of depositing money with someone to taking money anytime anywhere. My second guess is that this will happen to data sharing in the internet as well. There will be a time when people will no longer worry about their data as it will be safe and secure in the hands of the housekeeper like the money in the Bank. They will worry more about other valuable investments of growing their knowledge and becoming wiser and this gain would be their interest as compared to the one that banking system provides!

While I say that monopolies in the OS and web search world are diminishing, the standardization protocols in the IOT space are increasing. However these protocols have to be standardized so that the devices communicate anywhere in the world seamlessly.Just like the conductor provides a direction to the orchestra there has to be a direction by a universal framework or a standard.

It will be interesting to see which power centre controls the IOT standards in the coming future which is not at all far away! Also while we make devices interact with each other we should not forget the fact that human touch is far more powerful than machines and both need to coexist for better life!
There are many cases in the organized cybercrime industry which caters to frauds. Now imagine IOT frauds from various disparate systems. Way too Complex to handle! Hence there has to be one unified standard to handle the chaos! Keeping in mind the chances of getting filter bubbled by some big institutions…

Deric Karunesudas

Friday, 6 March 2015

INDUSTRIAL INTERNET: Connecting the World seamlessly!

The world is going Digital and Technology is more personal than ever. I feel there has been 3 revolutions that has changed the global outlook:-

       Scientific Revolution (1550-1650)
       Industrial Revolution (1760-1840)
       Internet Revolution (1980-2000)
       Industrial Internet (Today)

It all started from the Galileo time where for the first time an instrument was used in between a human and the object to study it. This was in itself a paradigm shift. Then came the Industrial revolution where mass production and automation was born. Then came the computers and network which connected the whole world together. The invention of Computers is being equated to something similar to invention of Fire.

Talking about Internet, around 40% of the world population has an internet connection today. In 1995, it was less than 1%. The number of internet users has increased tenfold from 1999 to 2013. There are approximately 6.5 Billion mobile phones in the world and out of which1.5 Billion are smart phones.

There is an increased number of networked appliances like television, mobile phones, sensor systems like HVAC, medical instruments, automobiles etc. The internet has evolved so much that the IPV6 is being rolled out due to the IPV4 exhaustion. The first billion was reached in 2005. The second billion in 2010. The third billion in 2014. Soon more and more devices are going to be connected. This has given birth to a new idea called Internet of Things (IOT)

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a scenario in which objects, animals or people are provided with unique identifiers and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction. Different names are being associated with this concept: “Industrial Internet” (General Electric), “Internet of Everything” (Cisco), “Web of Connected Objects” (France), “Industrie 4.0″ (Germany), “Internet of Things and Services” (Bosch)

With the reduction in the cost of the sensors and the storage space, there has been a significant development in the way various industries are leveraging the high speed internet capability.

Let me take 3 industries where IOT is used:-

1. Airline industry: Airline industry is being constantly criticized for the flight delays. Due to which the industry incurs billions of losses. A system called Preventive Maintenance System (PMS) is being implemented which has sensors in the aircraft which sends real time data of various parameters like engine efficiency, wear and tear elements etc to the ground staff and hence before the flight lands the maintenance team is already ready to serve the flight with the known problems. This saves lot of time and hence no more delays.
2. Medical Industry: Glucose monitor, heart rate monitor, using google glass many operations are being conducted with live feeds being monitored around the globe which increases the surgery efficiency. Saves time and lives!
3. Power & Energy Sector: The weather forecast feeds can help to redirect the direction of the blades of wind turbine and hence attain maximum speed and provide efficient power output. The driverless cars would efficiently increase the way driving is managed and also help reduce accidents by communication between vehicles on the road. The development of smart cities will also help connect a wider audience in many ways like monitoring and reporting status of city services like traffic flow, power and water usage, its availability and outage. Imagine the amount of access to city information which could enable new businesses. There is of course a security issue in this!

But with all these innovations and technological advancements there will be threats that mankind has to be aware of and deal with.
Some of the potential future threats posed by the IoT interconnected devices I foresee include:
       Automobiles – in-car( imagine google driver-less car) Wi-Fi, remote access, tampering of engine control and braking systems
       Commercial and Personal Drones – collection of significant personal data by drones; or compromised or personal micro-drones drones used for ‘kamikaze’ attacks
       Medical devices – unauthorized access to configuration settings as well as data on location, blood pressure/sugar levels, temperature
       Buildings and critical infrastructure – malicious damage to power production/generation or distribution, manufacturing, transportation          
       Home appliances – Denial-of-service attacks using unsecured connected devices, such as home entertainment systems; unauthorized connections via compromised smartphone apps. (recent “refrigerator hack” confirms my claim)

There could be a situation soon when the connected world and connected devices will lead to over powering of humans by machines.

I was privileged enough to meet the Father of Internet – Vint Cerf, in Mumbai on 3rd Jan 2015. I asked him a question on what happens to humanity when there is Technological Singularity? This is related to Artificial Intelligence. His views were of using technological innovation for the betterment of mankind and there is always a precaution that needs to be in place.

I agree with him and if a simple google glass can help me increase my productivity and efficiency then why not?  Something to ponder about!