Taking a look at what other people do in a certain aspect can give you an insight and an indicator in your own journey. Maybe IoT is one of the cutting edge technologies with rapid changes year after year, if not month after month.
About 700 developers answered Eclipse foundation IoT developer survey. The survey covers a lot of topics:
Key IoT concerns.
Top IoT programming languages.
Top IoT Operating Systems and Distros.
Cloud platforms for IoT.
Growth of new connectivity technologies.
According the the survey, security is the main concern for IoT developers in terms of data encryption and communication security.
Middleware, home automation, industrial automation, smart cities, energy management, building automation, agriculture, healthcare, automotive and transportation are the top 10 in IoT industry.
Regarding the language used by the majority of developers to build IoT solutions, C is still dominant in constrained devices followed by C++, and Java for gateway devices followed by Python.
according to the survey, constrained devices mostly have ARM Cortex M3 or M0 while Intel X86_64 and ARM Cortex v7-A are for gateway devices.
Speaking about operating systems, some of the developers use bare-metal approach; they don’t use any OS or RTOS, while most of the others use Linux. It worth to mention that the new RTOS Zephyr seems to be adopted by some developers.
Last but not least, IoT messaging protocols is an important part of IoT development and it seems that HTTP, MQTT, CoAP, in-house (proprietary) and HTTP/2 are the top 5 messaging protocols in the survey.
The full version of the survey is available on Sildshare. Similar survey was made in 2015 and 2016.
As Internet of Things (IoT) devices are optimized for lower power consumption and affordability, most of them have poor computing resources. As consequence, these devices are more vulnerable to hacking attacks. The good news is there are several options for using cryptography to make it difficult for hackers to gain access to IoT devices of your smart connected home.
Cheap IoT devices that have little protection or no protection at all can be hacked to flood websites with high traffic and shut the servers down. As “things” are increasingly getting connected to the “internet”, chances are that hackers may have the water or electricity shut off, security system disabled, and even worse – they can cause loss of human life by attacking medical devices.
So, what is the solution? Well, the answer is, “Authentication and Encryption using embedded cryptography”. Now we shall discuss these methods of securing IoT devices from cyber attacks.
For the IoT, authentication works in both directions. An IoT device ensures that it is interacting with an authorized gateway and cloud service, and the cloud service (remote server), in turn, verifies it is working with an authentic IoT node. Only when both the sender and the receiver are sure that they’re dealing with “real” client/server, they proceed further and exchange confidential information. This authentication is done by using a hashing algorithm and shared secret keys to generate a tag known as a message authentication code (MAC). This MAC address is compared with a locally stored address.
Now, it’s clear that effectiveness of the authentication process depends on the strength of the MAC, and the MAC address itself depends on the strength of the hashing algorithm, the length of the key used, and whether the key is shared secretly and stored securely. The current state-of-the-art hashing algorithm for cryptographic purposes is SHA-256 with 256-bit keys. That means if the key is unknown, it will take 2^256 attempts to crack it.
The generated key must be shared over a secure channel to prohibit hackers from cracking it by sniffing the packets. The key can also be shared over an insecure channel using Diffie–Hellman key exchange method. Another important task is to store the key securely. It’s highly recommended not to store the key in the same place along with other application data.
AES is the accepted encryption method to encrypt and decrypt messages using digital keys. Symmetric key cryptography uses the same key to encrypt and decrypt the message. So it’s vital to keep the key secret. Asymmetric key cryptography uses the combination of a shared, public key and a private key which is kept secret locally. Asymmetric key cryptography is more useful and safer to use over insecure channels. But, this method is too much computationally expensive. That means it requires more computing resources to deal with asymmetric key cryptography.
A typical IoT device may not have enough computational strength to encrypt and decrypt all the data with asymmetric key cryptography. Rather this method can be used to create a secure channel only for sharing symmetric keys that encrypt/decrypt all messages.
To make the data exchange more secure, dedicated authentication chips and cryptographic co-processors can be used. This technique makes embedded systems more power efficient and in the long run, it’s the best thing to do.
The concept behind this project is straightforward. A wire from the blinking LED of the power meter is connected to an interrupt pin from ESP8266 to count blinks (KWh) and then upload it to ThingsSpeak IoT platform to present data live online and to analyze it later.
To detect tampering, he used ACS712 AC current sensor module and connected its output (analog output) to an ADC input from ESP8266; If data from the sensor shows power consumption while no blinking form the LED is detected then a theft warning status will be issued.
The firmware, written in Arduino C, can be downloaded from Github.
Intrinsyc released it’s Open-Q™ 212 SBC, a full-featured, low-cost IoT computer based on a powerful quad-core ARM Cortex A7 (32-bit) 1.267GHz processor, with integrated GPU and DSP. This single board computer has some nice features such as Wifi, Bluetooth, LCD 720p support, HDMI 720p H.264/H.265 playback, an 8MP camera, four microphone inputs and amplified stereo outputs. It also features 4x USB ports, ethernet, serial interface, RTC clock and Li-Ion battery support. The board is ideal for creating voice controlled devices with noise cancellation technology and other internet enabled projects. The board can be used as a development kit or be embedded on final product. On the software side it supports Android 7 and there is a call for Linux support. This board packs some great features and looks promising in the IoT world. [via]
“We expect our Clients to use the board first as a development kit and then subsequently as an embedded SBC in their final product. It’s also likely that some Clients would want to de-feature or de-populate the SBC to lower the cost or to fit in a particular enclosure. Our team has the experience in hardware, software and mechanical engineering, we can quickly take the SBC’s core technology as is, and adjust the peripheral set. It’s our Client’s choice on how to proceed.” Said Intrinsyc.
Open-Q™ 212 SBC Specifications:
• Quad-Core ARM Cortex A7 (32-bit) 1.267GHz, GPU, DSP Memory/Storage
• 1GB LPDDR3 RAM
• 8GB eMCP Flash
• MicroSD card socket Wireless
• Pre-scanned Wi-Fi 802.11n 2.4Ghz, with chip antenna and U.FL antenna connector
• Bluetooth 4.1 + BLE LCD/Display
• Up to 720p LCD or up to 720p HDMI Type A Camera
• Up to 8MP over 2-lane MIPI CSI Video
• 720p@30fps playback
• Up to 720p playback with H.264 (AVC) and H.265 (HEVC)
• Up to 720p H.264 (AVC) capture Audio
• 4x microphone inputs
• 2x amplified speaker outputs
• 2x stereo line outputs Power
• PMIC and Li-Ion battery support I/O
• 4x USB 2.0 Type A host mode, Ethernet, Serial, RTC, I2S, GPIO, sensor header OS Support
• Android 7 Nougat, Call for Linux Operating Environment
• Input 12V/3A or single-cell Li-Ion battery
• Operating Temperature 0° C to +70°C
• Nano-ITX 120mm x 120mm
Open-Q™ 212 Single Board Computer for your IoT Device – [Link]
The LoRa IOT Home Environmental Monitoring System consists of an Arduino Mega based IOT-to-Internet gateway and Arduino Feather based remote stations with environmental sensors. The remote stations communicate wirelessly with the gateway using LoRa radios.
LoRa IOT Home Environment Monitoring System – [Link]
Ingenerare @ instructables.com show us an easy to build IoT weather station able to measure temperature, dew point, humidity, pressure, light index, and rain. He writes:
A weather station is a fun project that teaches you a ton about electronics with the added benefit being an actually useful little device. The project requires a bunch of cheap parts and sensors totaling less than $15, and the whole thing ends up fitting in your hand. The station creates a web site that monitors temperature, dew point, humidity, pressure, light index, and rain (Thingspeak channel). It’s a pretty easy set up, and you’ll just need some basic electronics skills to get it going.
Easy IoT Weather Station With Multiple Sensors – [Link]
Graham Prophet @ eedesignnewseurope.com discuss about a new IoT board to the market.
Distributor Arrow Electronics has extended its range of IoT development boards with the SmartEverything Panther. The Panther board enables users to add pattern recognition capabilities to their products to allow them to recognise gestures, sound and vibration patterns and then to link them to the cloud via Wi-Fi for monitoring and control purposes.
Development board targets IoT and is Arduino compatible – [Link]
IoE era is here since we are able now to add mobile radio capabilities in our applications! The latest incarnation of the cell phone network will offer internet connectivity and possibilities that could only be dreamt of previously depending on your standpoint, and many more factors.
And now let’s embed these concept in medical applications, like “Smart Bandage” . It is conceivable that sensors embedded in a medical dressing could continuously monitor the wound healing process and send alerts to medical personnel when an infection is detected. Maybe the patient could not tell accurately since the pain is not a valid indicator of biological dysfunction. The problem is that we all have different thresholds; some stalwarts may endure the pain and only end up visiting a doctor as a last resort when the simple infection has developed into something nastier. Other patients will be convinced that a slight twinge is evidence of a life threatening condition. An objective assessment of the patient’s state of health will not only be reassuring to the patient, but also lead to a more efficient use of medical resources and reduced health care costs.
For this reason, band-aids with sensors and 5G network interfaces seem like a win-win formula. They will give the doctor an early indication of problems and may even be able to run rudimentary diagnostics to indicate the cause of the problem. Instead of long waiting times for appointments and expensive laboratory tests we could, for example get an immediate recommendation of an effective antibiotic. This is just one small example of the many benefits that the IoE will eventually bring to medical care in the future.
“That intelligent dressing uses nano-technology to sense the state of that wound at any one specific time. It would connect that wound to a 5G infrastructure and that infrastructure through your telephone will also know things about you – where you are, how active you are at any one time. You combine all of that intelligence so the clinician knows the performance of the specific wound at any specific time and can then tailor the treatment protocol to the individual and wound in question.” – Prof Marc Clement, chairman of the Institute of Life Science (ILS).
A single-chip 2.6 A driver for brushed DC motors, STMicroelectronics’ STSPIN250 targets battery-powered portable and wearable applications. This low-voltage, energy-efficient driver integrates a power MOSFET bridge and fixed off-time PWM current controller in a tiny 3×3 mm VFQFPN package.
A new competitor to Raspberry Pi Zero W is just out! A new single-board computer by Orange Pi that is now available at AliExpress is competing against Pi Zero W, the Orange Pi 2G-IoT. Using this powerful SoC you can build a computer, a wireless server, games, musics and sounds, a speaker with Android, Scratch and a lot of other options since Pi 2G-IoT is open source.
The Orange Pi 2G-IoT has ARM Cortex-A5 32bit clocked at 1GHz with 256MB DDR2 RAM, 500 MB of on-board NAND storage to go along with an SD card slot for larger storage. It also has a CSI camera connector, WiFi, Bluetooth, an FM Radio and GSM/GPRS with a sim card slot on the bottom. It is pin compatible with Raspberry Pi’s almost standardized GPIO layout.
This $10 board is impressive especially the addition of GSM/GPRS, but it is not promised to kill other competitors in sales, even though it is a powerful little computer. Since the community of Raspberry Pi product is much more larger and more supportive, Orange Pi fails in engaging its audience with the products it makes.
Unfortunately, Orange Pi website is not updated yet to include its newest product. However if you are interested in getting one for yourself right now, head over to AliExpress to get your 2G-IoT for only $9.90 and to know more details.