IoT Security: Real Problems and Solutions

Display portlet menu

IoT Security: Real Problems and Solutions

Guillaume Crinon Headshot
diagram of smartphone and connected devices

Introduction

“IoT security” is a popular topic these days, and there is not a single week without a conference featuring a paper or a keynote about security, without an announcement from hardware or software companies introducing new solutions and without an article in the specialized press. Avnet Silica would certainly not miss such an opportunity to participate in the discussion.

This paper aims at defining the real issues behind “IoT security”, the real challenges for our customers both from hardware and embedded / server software aspects and of course solutions as we envision them for the next 6 to 8 years, until our world becomes all IPv6 and 6LoWPAN.

We could start like many others, explaining how connected devices are at risk, how hackers can ruin business-models and how much everyone should look into cryptography. We will not.

Surprisingly or not, the main problem our customers face is the cost of personalizing the devices they manufacture with unique IDs, MAC addresses, keys and certificates, either on the production line or during field deployment. Surprisingly or not, technical solutions for personalization very often provide an additional toolset enabling the highest level of security at no additional cost.

We will demonstrate how the security architecture of the Internet of Things should leverage the security architecture of the Internet as we have been building it for more than 20 years. We will explain the challenges of properly provisioning and securing low-power non IPv6 connected sensors and devices.

In the past 15 years, enterprise Information Technology (IT) architects have successfully upgraded their security schemes from an all-wired world based on desktop computers to all-wireless-mobile laptop and smartphone fleets without compromising on security and even improving it. A similar evolution is happening now: beyond laptops and smartphones, industries are looking to connect many devices, machines and objects to application servers through private and public networks, as shown here.

What needs to be solved

The cost of personalizing connected devices

Regardless of the application and the security scheme associated with it, there is always a point in the life of a device connecting to another or to a distant server when someone needs to program unique identifiers and secret keys into a memory.

This process is called personalization. This is a hurdle, often a burden and always a cost in the manufacturing process or for the end-user.

Let us take a straight-forward example: adding a WiFi printer to a home network. At some point, you will need to associate manually the printer with the router so that they can share the same pass-key. Whether you do it manually, via NFC, or with a USB cable, the printer needs to know the secret key. In this case, the burden is not supported by the printer manufacturer but by you, the end-user.

The same thing applies in the business world but on a larger scale. One example from building automation is an alarm-system. This comprises a central unit and several peripherals communicating locally via an RF protocol, and may be sold individually or bundled. Someone, whether the manufacturer, the installer, or the end-user in DIY mode needs to “pair” or “associate” the peripherals with the central unit, and then register the central unit with the global surveillance service.

In all these cases, someone has to bear the cost of going through these personalization and pairing processes, either the manufacturer of the device, the service provider or the end-user himself at the expense of a true out-of-the-box experience.

The complexity of these processes often makes them a weakness in the security of such networks. How often do you renew your home WiFi pass-key? Probably never because it is too much of a hassle. How often are secret AES keys renewed in many systems? Not often and possibly never for exactly the same reason.

Networking and security: the importance of “end-to-end”

Link and network security are being addressed by every single communication and networking technology at different levels of the protocol stacks such as IPsec for IP, WPA for 802.11, 802.15.4, Bluetooth, and so on. However they should not be mistaken for end-to-end application security.

Indeed, having a WPA-secured WiFi connection to a local router is definitely not sufficient to “http” privately into a distant server, bearing in mind that most local network keys are hardly ever renewed for the reason explained above.

As illustrated below, it is fairly common that the data generated by a sensor or a machine will be conveyed through many different networks of different sorts belonging to a variety of service providers before reaching the targeted application server:

Each leg is only responsible for its own security, and is unaware of the legs behind or in front of it. As a consequence, the data has to be decrypted and re-encrypted within each gateway, from one leg to the next. It is often said that the security level of a whole system is defined by its weakest link. Therefore the need to trust several connectivity providers as well as the gateway manufacturers interconnecting them is clearly a weakness.

If the data are carried over IP all the way, there is an option of “tunneling” from the sensor to the application server. However this is the only possibility that comes close to “end-to-end” security in this scheme.

The solution is an extra level of end-to-end device-to-server security taking care of:

  • Device authentication to server
  • Server authentication to device
  • Secure session key establishment
  • Data integrity
  • Data confidentiality if needed

Solutions

End-to-end security in the IP world

SSL (Secure Socket Layer)
It is now more than 20 years since Netscape released in 1995 the initial public version of SSL (numbered 2.0 as 1.0 was never released because of flaws).

The idea was simple: how could Internet clients communicate securely and privately end-to-end with applicative remote servers delivering email, banking, e-commerce services through the public Internet regardless of their HW/SW platform and OS (Operating System)?

“Securely and privately end-to-end” meant the client being able to authenticate the server, not exposing passwords and confidential information to any third party including Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) and Telecom Operators. It also had to keep eavesdroppers and hackers at bay.

The easiest answer to this problem was to use the same unique secret key on both sides of the communication channel.

The main problem then became: how to distribute this unique secret key without exposing it?

Using an alternate channel could be a solution: After all, banks send us Visa/Mastercard PIN codes in a separate mail, and some websites use our email account to send us a provisional password when registering for a new service or requesting a password reset. Nevertheless, this was no lightning-fast process and certainly not practical for renewing session keys on a regular basis in a seamless and user-transparent way.

The real breakthrough came from the use of asymmetric cryptography.

This technology involved a fundamental transaction invented 20 years previously between 1973 and 1977 by asymmetric cryptography pioneers Clifford Cocks, Whitfield Diffie, Martin Hellman, Ron Rivest, Adi Shamir and Leonard Adleman. Theyhad devised methods for computing a unique shared secret key between two entities communicating over a public channel without exposing any secret information. Simply brilliant! Any acronym bearing RSA (Rivest, Shamir, Adleman) or DH (Diffie-Hellman) refers to these mathematicians. Since Cocks was working for the British secret services, his work and name were kept secret until recently, but he nonetheless deserves the recognition.

Asymmetric cryptography (RSA, ECC) being powerful but requiring much more processing power to encrypt and decrypt data compared with symmetric algorithms (DES, AES), it was therefore not very efficient to use it to encrypt and decrypt every single packet exchanged over the internet. For this reason, its use has been mostly restricted to the exchange and computation of symmetric session keys used to encrypt and decrypt the streams of data exchanged over the Internet.

Back in 1995, it was therefore possible for a client to securely authenticate a server and compute a shared secret session key used to exchange data:

Need for certificates

As is illustrated here, servers do not send their public key as is; they send certificates embedding their public key.

Why not sending a public key directly?

Because the client needs to be able to differentiate the genuine web site it wants to connect to from a fake one. How to differentiate between www.mybank.com and www.my-bank.com if the latter one wants to impersonate the real bank in order to capture account credentials?

Both will have a public key, but the client needs to check which one corresponds to www.mybank.com

In order to do this, the world relies on Certificate Authorities (CA) who are trusted independent corporations issuing digital certificates that certify the ownership of a public key by the entity named in the certificate.

Let us assume that www.mybank.com wants to issue a public key. Mybank will first send it to a Certificate Authority (CA) along with its credentials and proof of its identity. The CA will check that www.mybank.com is the owner of the public key and issues a digital certificate (complying with the X.509 standard) comprising [www.mybank.com ‘s public key, the name of mybank.com and its other credentials, validity dates] signed with CA’s private key.

This digital certificate will then be sent back to www.mybank.com who will share it with web clients requesting a connection.

Upon reception, the client will check the signature of the certificate using the CA public key (which is usually preloaded into the web-browser). In this way thus authenticate the certificate and therefore trust that the public key inside the certificate belongs to www.mybank.com which is the website it is asking to connect to.

In spite of many ongoing reflections on ways to improve the system, this architecture is the one currently securing the Internet:

TLS (Transport Layer Security)

After a few flaws and weaknesses discovered in SSL2.0 and SSL3.0, SSL has evolved to TLS1.x based on improved algorithms for signing, authenticating and encrypting which will not be detailed here.

In particular Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC) often replaces RSA, as it provides much shorter keys and less calculation complexity along with a higher level of security.

Embedded sensors and IPv6

Whereas the tremendous growth in the expected number of Internet-connected devices has led to migrate the addressing space from 32-bit in IPv4 (4.3B unique addresses) to 128-bit in IPv6 (3.4x1038 unique addresses!), the billions of sensors and devices being deployed are not yet natively IP-compliant.

Indeed, most of these devices are likely to communicate wirelessly and in many cases to run on batteries without maintenance for 5 to 15 years depending on the use cases.

Although a few IP-friendly wireless technologies such as 802.11 and cellular 3G/4G have been around for years they still fail the battery life test.

Instead, battery-friendly wireless technologies tend to favor small payloads, extended sleep time, asynchronous behavior and asymmetric communication, very often connecting to gateways with LAN (Local Area Network) connectivity such as Bluetooth, ZigBee, WmBUS, Z-Wave, Enocean, KNX, ioHomeControl, 802.15.4 or more recently without gateways with LPWAN (Low-Power Wide Area Network) technologies such as SIGFOX, LoRaWAN, NB-IoT to name a few.

Although recent implementations of 6LoWPAN (low-power wireless IPv6) have emerged such as Thread and Bluetooth 4.2, it is expected that a vast quantity of sensors and devices that will be deployed under the IoT banner will actually NOT be IP-friendly until 2025 at least for reasons of backward compatibility and legacy with existing products.

This means that these billions of devices, from smart meters to industrial sensors will not be able to use the Internet Protocol standard to establish a TLS session with the server they will be connecting with.

End-to-end security outside the IPv6 world

Is this the end of our story? Certainly not!

We are looking for a way to implement this green layer of end-to-end security that sits on top of the other security legs:

We have at least one leg which is not IP, probably low power, low data rate acting as a bottleneck on the whole path (remember if we are IP all the way, go to the previous paragraph, problem solved).

There is a simple answer: if genuine IP TLS is too heavy with too much overhead for this bottleneck, let us tailor a derivative of TLS bearing:

  • Cryptography algorithms with shorter keys (ECC) rather than longer ones (RSA)
  • Smaller certificates
  • Extended session key validity
  • A simple capability for a sensor to check a server certificate off-line if needed
  • A secure and cheap way to personalize and store certificates together with session keys in the sensor or device
  • Certificate Authority services enabling the issuance and checking of custom certificates

This TLS derivative should perform the same functions as the real TLS:

  • Mutual authentication
  • Very simple and automated provisioning of a sensor/device into a distant application
  • Mechanisms for revocation of a sensor/device from a distant application
  • Secure AES session key derivation and secure exchange
  • yielding message integrity and encryption

Secure elements

Although many MCUs boast low-power cryptographic engines, they miss the real problems:

  • Someone still needs to personalize them at some point, and this has a cost
  • They are not secure and secret keys can be read from their memory or computed from dynamic supply currents or even from their electro-magnetic emissions.

This is the reason why Visa and SIM card chips are not standard Cortex-M3 hardware.

This is the reason why such things as secure elements are useful.

Secure elements are tiny components connecting as peripherals to host MCUs/MPUs and featuring:

  • Personalized certificates
  • Secure hosting of secret keys
  • Handling of cryptography primitives

In short, they are part of the solution together with secure personalization logistics.

Bottom line: personalizing a connected device
Our initial problem was lowering the cost and the burden of personalizing and provisioning connected devices, sensors, machines to local or remote servers. By regrouping the technologies mentioned above, we now have a full set of solutions:

  • TLS or TLS-like stacks and APIs capable of mutual authentication, distribution and renewal of session keys
  • Secure elements able to host certificates and handle TLS primitive functions
  • Secure logistics in order to personalize secure elements before device manufacturing eliminating the need to personalize the device itself
  • Trusted Certificate Authority services for issuing and checking custom certificates during the 15-year life of the connected product

Gateway

A gateway typically bridges between a Local Area Network (LAN) and the application server through the Internet (IP network). It therefore needs to securely authenticate to the server and securely authenticate the server it is connecting with.

Since the link between the gateway and the server is IP-based, this can be handled with a TLS protocol over any IP connection, whether WiFi, Ethernet or 3G/4G.

A recommended implementation will be our Avnet-Silica-personalized secure element as a companion chip to the main processor running our UbiquiOS stack in the gateway seamlessly handling the TLS with the server running our APIs and performing the task of provisioning the gateway with HTTPS or MQTTS.

IP or 6LoWPAN sensor

As seen above, sensors are often battery-operated and need to operate light stacks. 6LoWPAN is the low-power version of IPv6, typically used by the Thread™ networking protocol. In this case, it will be possible to establish a TLS directly between the sensor and the server as explained earlier.

A recommended implementation will be our Avnet-Silica-personalized secure element as a companion chip to the sensor microcontroller running our UbiquiOS stack seamlessly handling the TLS through a provisioned gateway with the server running our APIs and performing the task of provisioning the sensor securely with HTTPS or MQTTS.

Non IP sensor

If the sensor is neither IP nor 6LoWPAN-based, it will be necessary to establish a TLS derivative tailored to the local networking technology directly between the sensor and the server.

A recommended implementation will be our Avnet-Silica personalized secure element as a companion chip to the sensor microcontroller running our UbiquiOS stack seamlessly handling Avnet Silica’s proposed TLS derivative through a provisioned gateway with the server running our APIs and performing the task of provisioning the sensor with the best balance of security and power consumption in accordance with the mechanisms in use with HTTPS and MQTTS.

Conclusion

Avnet and its partners enable customers to benefit from their depth and breadth of expertise in addressing personalization and security schemes for IoT projects.

The company represents several secure element manufacturers, including Infineon, ST Micro, NXP, Maxim, Microchip/Atmel and Morpho/Trusted Objects.

Avnet is also currently developing its own stacks and APIs. These will be able to handle TLS derivatives and easy provisioning schemes running on various radio links, together with UbiquiOS Technology and Avnet Services.

Avnet is also establishing certification authority services with a trusted partner for customers who do not wish to invest in a full public-key infrastructure themselves.

About Author

Guillaume Crinon Headshot
Guillaume Crinon

Guillaume Crinon is the Global IoT Strategy Manager at Avnet, responsible for security and connectiv...

Related Articles
tech workers gathered around table during meeting
5 tips to structure IoT systems for insights
By Lou Lutostanski   -   November 21, 2019
Remember: check that every choice you make is laying the foundation for delivering insights.
Business people around a table in a meeting about IoT security
Customization comes with a competitive edge—and security challenge
By Guillaume Crinon   -   October 29, 2019
Whether you have an in-house team or are exporting the building of infrastructure to a trusted partner, make sure the team is asking the right questions when it comes to implementing and deploying IoT solutions.
cars being built in automated factory
Why settle for just any IoT platform?
October 17, 2019
To capitalize on IoT, it's important to assess exactly what's needed from an IoT platform like security, interoperability and flexibility.
group of young people at office table discussing project
Don’t reinvent the wheel when it comes to IoT
October 17, 2019
Avnet’s scalable, repeatable vertical SaaS applications are each between 60 and 80% complete, speeding time to market in IoT.
the number 10 with the word
10 Things Every Intelligent Systems Needs
April 20, 2018
The Internet of Things (IoT) is changing the way businesses use technology. This web of interconnected devices and machines gathers information from gas-oil-water exploration sensors to sensors in corn fields, to medical devices and train control sys
IoT conceptual icons in cloud server room
IoT: More Than Just Cool Technology
By Alex Iuorio   -   March 14, 2017
I can’t remember the last time I read an article about the Internet of Things (IoT) that didn’t start with market projections about the phenomenal number of devices that will be enabled in the next five to 10 years.
tablet with iCloud image and IoT icons
Finding the Best Wireless Option for Your IoT Design
March 6, 2017
The Internet of Things (IoT) relies on a facile communications framework able to move data easily between embedded "things" and systems located at higher levels of the IoT hierarchy. For designers, a diverse set of wireless connectivity options...
man wearing virtual reality headset with graphic overlays
How LoRaWAN and AI at the Edge Revolutionize the IoT
January 3, 2020
Learn how LoRaWAN and artificial intelligence (AI) at the edge can revolutionize the internet of things by reducing data transmission and improving latency.
couple checking smart watches while exercising
Redefining nanopower for the Internet of Things
December 9, 2019
Internet of Things trends today revolve around shiny objects—whether they be artificial intelligence or blockchain—but what if one of the most revolutionary parts of the IoT is something designers consider every day in devices?
internet of things visualization with finger pointing to it
Securing the Keys to the Kingdom: Hardening the IoT-connected supply chain
November 21, 2019
To harden the IoT-connected supply chain, cybersecurity strategies need to move beyond a single enterprise’s digital infrastructure and encompass all the players within the value chain.
field of linear dots on blue background
3 ways IoT means true business transformation
October 17, 2019
IoT is business transformation and will change organizations more than Six Sigma or agile methodologies or social media.
Three men and woman having discussion in network operations center
Your business doesn’t have one IoT use case, it has dozens
October 17, 2019
It’s a well-worn story: finding the appropriate use case is crucial to ensuring that organizations can build an IoT system structured for insights.
Robotic arm industrial Internet of Things and Industry 4.0
Wired together: How automation systems power the Industrial Internet of Things
July 16, 2019
From process control and automotive assembly, to robotics and the food and beverage industry, the concept behind Industry 4.0 touches all industries.
Three men and woman in meeting
Getting started in enterprise IoT: Six tricks for solving the puzzle
July 9, 2019
IoT is like a technological Rubik’s Cube. Here are some of the best tips to solving the IoT puzzle.
person inserting probes into computer board
Don’t ignore analog—it’s the secret sauce of IoT
May 19, 2019
Most of the innovation in IoT is focused on digital technology. From power servers running software in the cloud, to increasingly more intelligent devices operating ever closer to the edge in our factories, homes and personal devices. What is often l
two robotic arms
Decreasing Time to Design in the Industrial Internet of Things
April 23, 2019
The huge potential for innovation in industrial IoT (IIoT) offers the promise of significant productivity gains, operational efficiency and bottom line revenue increases, but only if it’s enabled by a supply chain based on reliability, stability an
IoT Connect Platform Graphic
Designing for the IoT as Intelligence Moves to the Edge
April 23, 2019
The Internet of Everything will be all inclusive, from huge data centers to single-purpose sensors. While individual power requirements vary across the IoT, the need for energy efficiency will be present everywhere.
young woman at desk using smartphone
Don’t get caught in proof of concept purgatory
By Lou Lutostanski   -   April 9, 2019
Here are the 5 classic signs you are in PoC purgatory.
outdoor weather sensors
Making sense of sensors
March 26, 2019
If creators still don’t think that sensors are getting the attention they deserve now, then there really is no limit to where the IoT can go.
illustration of two people shaking hands with overlay of data points
How to Turn IoT Insights into Action
By   -   March 22, 2019
While an IoT platform can generate a lot of insight, you don’t improve your organization’s efficiency, increase customer satisfaction, or open a new business opportunity without applying it.
field of green icons
The Art of Creating IoT Insights
By Lou Lutostanski   -   March 13, 2019
One of the biggest opportunities created by the Internet of Things (IoT) is the ability to use data to generate surprising new insights that guide you to act.
depiction of data flowing against a black backdrop
Data Defines Your Destiny in IoT
By Lou Lutostanski   -   March 8, 2019
Data can be daunting. It’s intangible, invisible and typically isolated in physical things like the trucks in your fleet, monitors in your hospitals, or machines in your factory.
A group of colleagues working in a computer security room having a discussion
Avnet and Microsoft Azure Sphere: IoT security in hardware, software and at the edge
March 5, 2019
IoT has transformed various industries by automating them at large, but the security concerns associated are just as large as the market opportunity this technology presents. That’s where Azure Sphere comes in.
person holding superimposed globe with IoT symbols
Reimagining the ‘things’ of IoT
By Bill Amelio   -   February 28, 2019
While our collective vision for IoT’s impact on the future is grand in scale, it is still too easy for companies to get distracted by the minutiae of our present day IoT challenges.
A doctor writing on a clipboard
How AI-powered virtual assistants can transform healthcare
February 26, 2019
We have witnessed a paradigm shift in the way patients are being treated by the doctors with the help of AI and machine learning.
shopping cart in grocery store
4 ways AI connects retailers and customers
February 25, 2019
Technologies like machine learning and AI help retailers to process massive amounts of customer data. And with this data in hand, retailers can thoroughly understand their customers’ buying behavior.
computer monitor in factory
How leading manufacturing companies are reaping various benefits of AI
February 25, 2019
Manufacturing companies are applying AI-powered analytics for multiple use cases, such as, cutting unplanned downtime, better product designing, increasing product quality, ensuring employee safety, and many more.
depiction of brain surrounded by icons
The rise of machine intelligence in the AI era
February 24, 2019
Whether you know it or not, this technology has a lot of potential to deal with business-specific challenges and the benefits of deep learning outnumber its drawbacks.
futuristic city scene
The Car: A Rolling Smart Device
February 5, 2019
Be it for streaming your favorite music, sending emails or getting real-time information on traffic jams: cars have long since played host to mobile internet—and will continue to via diagnostics, hotspots and ADAS.
 Avnet booth at CES 2019
Our Top Takeaways from CES 2019
January 15, 2019
More than 180,000 people flocked to Las Vegas for CES, where Avnet debuted IoT and AI products as well as showed the expertise within our global ecosystem.
group of young people wearing virtual reality headsets
Top 6 Trends: Get ready to meet the demand for IoT solutions
December 11, 2018
Gartner predicts that in less than two years, more than 20 billion Internet of Things (IoT) devices will be deployed. Here are the top six technology trends to ensure your IoT strategies are successful.
Person going through security using IoT-enabled thumbprint scanning technology
2018 Was IoT’s Breakout Year
December 11, 2018
From connected devices at home to security cameras and sensors in factories, the acceleration of IoT in 2018 has ignited the imagination and pushed product development in new directions.
Doctor checking on a patient from a remote patient monitoring device -- artificial intelligence
AI From A-Z: The biggest buzzwords around artificial intelligence
November 28, 2018
Companies across markets from consumer electronics to factory floors are finding power in the introduction of two letters: AI (artificial intelligence).
worker using tablet computer to monitor industrial robotic arm
The Building Blocks of IoT: You Just Can't Stack Them Up
By Bill Amelio   -   November 14, 2018
I’ve spent my entire career in the business of technology, and I’ve watched many ideas go from “shiny new object” to “buzzword” to “table stakes.”
Wi-Fi router on desk
How wireless communication protocols make or break designs
November 11, 2018
The design process includes many critical decisions for engineers, such as which wireless communications protocol to use.
group of professionals in a meeting
How startups can integrate with design partners
November 9, 2018
While it might feel like the rubber truly meets the road at the manufacturing stage, the design process is truly where creators’ great ideas take shape. It’s also where you’ll make major decisions that impact your production and deployment.
Crowd watching live rock band playing on stage
How the Deaf Experience Music—Then and Now
November 8, 2018
When you think of experiencing music, what comes to mind? The sound. But sound is vibrations—and the key to how Avnet created a wearable to allow deaf and hard of hearing people to listen to live music.
Thee men standing around a computer monitor
The 3 IoT Security Fundamentals Startups Need to Know
November 6, 2018
In a startup environment, when funding sources—or lack thereof—are looming every day, security might not be on the top of your mind. Here are 3 reasons why it should ... and what to consider about security.
young professionals in office setting around computer screen
How to Turn Your IoT Solution into Recurring Revenue
By Lou Lutostanski   -   November 6, 2018
Companies in almost every industry are investing in Internet of Things (IoT) applications with high hopes of creating new revenue streams. Here's how you can ensure ROI from your deployment.
Edge AI robotic hand using laptop
IoT at the Edge: How AI Will Transform IoT Architecture
By Lou Lutostanski   -   October 26, 2018
Futurists say artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) will transform business and society more profoundly than the industrial and digital revolutions combined, and we’re now starting to see how that world might shape up.
Electronic body suits hanging on racks
3 Lessons for Hardware Creators from a Desert Music Festival
September 25, 2018
When a creator has a big idea, they often need a big partner to help them make it happen. Music: Not Impossible was no exception.
Two IoT professionals have a meeting to discuss strategy
Does your IoT strategy have a connection problem?
September 7, 2018
You’ve heard it everywhere: IoT is a game-changer, a disrupter and a gigantic business opportunity for everyone. That’s all well and good. However, the reality is that many companies have eyes bigger than their stomachs when it comes to IoT.
Solar panels providing an alternate power source with the city skyline they are powering in the background
Alternative Solutions For Powering IoT Devices
August 9, 2018
In this article, we look at why edge devices need power, and the options for reducing this need to a level where energy harvesting becomes sustainable.
Smartphone held next to locked door
How Secured Is Your IoT Business?
June 18, 2018
Think of reliability, safety and profit when considering security in the Internet of Things
trade show floor with people at vendor booths
Blending IT, OT among hot topics at IoT World 2018
May 17, 2018
Avnet Internet of Things experts harnessed the knowledge gained from working with more than 2 million customers around the world to present ideas at IoT World 2018 in Santa Clara, Calif.
Bill Amelio
As technology reshapes our world, ecosystems reshape our business models
By Bill Amelio   -   April 25, 2018
See why businesses are now increasingly reliant on formal structures that tap into the power of partnership - “the company you keep.”
IoT icons with a world map background
Insurance and the Internet of Things
April 21, 2018
Learn about the impacts of IoT on insurance - from auto, home, health and other insurance policies.
automated vehicle factory
Ensuring robust connectivity in the Industrial Internet of Things
April 20, 2018
The industrial Internet of Things promises to bring greater visibility and control of manufacturing processes. To achieve its potential, however, industrial data networks need robust interconnect solutions able to maintain robust connectivity despite
Man and woman making an adjustment to hardware wiring
Why Blockchain May Not Reach Beyond the IP Gateway in IoT Security
By Guillaume Crinon   -   April 19, 2018
Gain an understanding the basics of crypto currencies and the security built into them.
 Woman controlling thermostat temperature via mobile device
4 energy applications for smart home technologies
April 4, 2018
See four energy and utilities applications that can transform a one-off technology into an integral part of the home of the future.
Man wearing smart watch
Security and surveillance: two sides of the coin in smart homes
April 4, 2018
With smart building automation and home security comes the need to protect a home's hardware and software.
Person holding smartphone next to door
From enabled to proactive: the evolution of home automation
April 3, 2018
The demand for smart homes is booming and homes are getting 'smarter' along the way.
Three young men and young woman chatting in meeting room
3 Steps to IoT Deployment
By Michael Lamp   -   March 6, 2018
To succeed with IoT deployment you need to start well at the beginning to get your project to a strong conclusion.
Business people in meeting
IoT for Enterprise: 4 Concerns to Consider Before Deployment
By Michael Lamp   -   March 6, 2018
Interoperability, customization and convergence - some of the main concerns businesses tend to face when it comes to deploying IoT.
young man and woman inspecting equipment in computer datacenter
Buy or build your IoT infrastructure?
By Michael Lamp   -   March 6, 2018
Read about the questions many businesses face when starting to create plans for an IoT project.
Two young men and young woman looking at tablet computer in datacenter
IoT Technology 101
By Christian Curtis   -   March 6, 2018
Learn what’s in market today for IoT and what innovations are ahead.
Young man holding laptop
5 (nearly) universal IoT security problems
By Guillaume Crinon   -   February 6, 2018
While IoT is chock full of customization, there are security measures that thread through nearly all deployments.
Four people sitting at a table collaborating on a project
Why does it take 10 partners to start an IoT project?
By Michael Lamp   -   January 18, 2018
Most companies say it takes up to 10 partners to even start an IoT project. We try to understand why.
 Woman using tablet and working in data center
The importance of end-to-end security schemes for IoT deployments
By Guillaume Crinon   -   January 18, 2018
IoT machine and device security relies on trusted identities.
Avnet booth at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show
3 Hardware Takeaways from CES 2018
January 18, 2018
If the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is any indication, a huge hardware evolution is coming.
2D shape of a hea with digital data overlay and the work IoT
Cognitive Computing and IBM Watson IoT: Unlocking the Power of Information
December 9, 2017
Businesses, academic institutions, cities, and other enterprises may have diverse objectives and missions but all have two things in common: Data, lots of it, and the need for a comprehensive—and comprehensible—way to make use of it. Most executi
supply chain concept with vehicles and tools around the work IoT
For Industry 4.0, Reliability Builds on Robust Connections
December 9, 2017
Looking to relieve increasing product complexity and cost pressures, manufacturers are moving toward the next phase of industrial automation envisioned in Industry 4.0. In this concept, smart factories respond instantly to changing workloads to more
hands holding iPhone with overlaid IoT icons
Avnet: Your Key Enabler for Efficient IoT Product Development
December 8, 2017
There’s no shortage of hype when it comes to IoT! Fashion designers, futurists, gadget geeks, salespeople…Beyond the logistic efficiencies and capabilities of being the largest global component distributor, Avnet focuses significant technica
factory with robotic welders
Zero Downtime Industrial IoT Using Programmable SoCs
July 10, 2017
See an IP design from SoC-e for the Xilinx Zynq®-7000 SoC, providing a flexible solution for equipment that will be connected to HSR rings, PRP LANs, etc.
random digital data on black background
Driving Data with Unintentional New Uses: Internet of Things
June 11, 2017
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a natural evolution of the things we already make today. It is created by the convergence of several key trends, including: growing intelligence of devices that put new power to good use, ubiquitous and cheap connecti
IoT WiFi icons over cityscape
How Retailers are Using Location Awareness Technology to Track Buyers’ Habits
April 21, 2017
Location tracking has been in use for a lot longer than one may expect. For example, military Special Forces and intelligence organizations have been using trackers and tracers for decades. Auto theft recovery services such as LoJack have offered rea
IoT concept image with icons in cloud bubbles over cityscape
Harnessing the Power of IoT: Microsoft’s Unique Approach
April 19, 2017
Little could this now-famous British serial entrepreneur have known in 1999 that the name he chose to define his approach for using RFID in P&G’s supply chain would top Gartner’s 2015 Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies report. Hackneyed though
digital image of the continents
The Edge to Enterprise - Avnet and IBM Partner to Deliver IoT Offering
April 11, 2017
This white paper examines the Internet of Things market with a lens on the complexity of the vendor ecosystem and how partnerships are enabling holistic solutions to come to market.
smart phone with IoT icon overlay
OCF and Thread Group Alliance Boosts Windows 10 and its Smart Home Initiative
March 29, 2017
Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF) and Thread Group, recently collaborated to fire up the automated ‘smart home’ functionalities on the Windows 10 operating system.
conceptual graphic of IoT icons around a blue globe
An Introduction to IoT Components
March 29, 2017
From locomotives and jet engines to baby monitors and home appliance controls, new applications are challenging the imaginations of designers — both in startup companies and within giant corporations.
energy harvesting concept with green batteries sprouting from the ground
Powering the Internet of Things via Energy Harvesting
March 27, 2017
The push is on to add Internet capability to everything—often called the Internet of Things (IoT)—and the challenge for design engineers is to figure out how to power each of these IoT nodes.
night time cityscape with fast-moving traffic
10 Companies and Municipalities that Are Harnessing the Internet of Things to Run Smarter Cities
March 25, 2017
Many of the devices we interact with today are enabled by computers and connected to the Internet. Much of the popular interest in the Internet of Things (IoT) focuses on consumer electronics, with everything from smart refrigerators to thermostats,
man holding out his hand with icon overlay
The Internet of Everything is Here…or Is It?
March 18, 2017
The next great age of technology is the Internet of Things (IoT), if, that is, you believe everything you read on the Internet.
America flag with WIFI icon
It’s Time For The Government And The Internet Of Things
March 15, 2017
The Internet of Things or IoT has become quite the well-known term in the past year or two. What started out as a radical concept – connecting everything to everything else and to the Internet!
nurse checking person wearing health monitoring system on wrist
Internet of Things: Designing Sensor-Based Devices with Coin Cell Batteries
March 11, 2017
A popular vision of the Internet of Things (IoT) is that it will comprise billions of sensors gathering information about their local environment and transmitting that data back to servers in the cloud. Such data will be compiled, analyzed and shared
woman in excercise clothing wearing ipod, looking at her smart watch
From Vision to Reality: A Look at Pebble’s Launch Into the Wearables Market
March 11, 2017
When Eric Migicovsky started designing smartwatches six years ago, there were few players in the wearables space and a lot of skeptics. He was an undergraduate student at the time, developing the earliest iterations of Pebble for a school project. Bu
hand holding smart phone with IoT icons emanating from the phone
Indispensable Building Blocks of Mobile IoT Devices
March 10, 2017
The concept of IoT connected devices connotes many different ideas. Some think of data centers full of servers, network switches and storage arrays aggregating untold gigabytes of random data. Others identify with Ethernet-enabled devices in their pl
woman looking at tablet on airplane
The Internet of Things at Cruising Altitude: Airlines and the IoT
March 10, 2017
What are your thoughts when you step onto an airplane? “Where’s my seat?” “Is this a Wi-Fi flight?” “I hope I make my connection.”
shiping yard vehicles, airplan with IoT icons overlay
How the IoT will Change the Supply Chain?
March 10, 2017
The potential applications of Internet of Things (IoT) technology across any industry or sector are vast. Existing and future IoT applications promise new ways of value creation and revenue streams for businesses in a digital world.
bee polinating a puple flower field
What’s All The Buzz About? Bees And Smart Map Technology
March 8, 2017
You’ve heard about the problems with the bees, right? Their population numbers are dwindling and that’s not good news.
two racks of hanging clothing
The Internet of Slacks? IoT and Smart Clothing
March 8, 2017
When you think of wearable technology you probably think about those fitness trackers that you wear on your wrist. What you probably don’t think about is your shirt, your pants or even your socks.
key against a map of the world
Differentiated FPGAs Provide Security in Today’s Hyperconnected World
March 8, 2017
FPGAs offer the fastest way to integrate a specific design into a single device. See why an FPGA might be the perfect solution for your next project.
Yellow rainboots and gardening tools on flowerbed
The Internet of Things Has Thumbs – And They’re Green
March 8, 2017
It’s no surprise that technology, data and intelligent systems are transforming industrial agriculture.
man pointing to the word insurance
Risky Business: IoT’s Impact on Insurance
March 7, 2017
Risky Business: IoT’s Impact on Insurance By Steve Gereb August 25, 2016. I enjoy reading about how the data collected by Intelligent Systems will help people live better lives.
conceptual image of hand with legs and city background
Smart Cities: What To Look For In 2016 And Beyond
March 7, 2017
In a recent article in Government Technology, IDC research director Ruthbea Yesner Clarke discusses three trends emerging around the growing smart cities movement
woman on laptop with smart phone and smart watch
Will HaLow Open the Door for More Intelligent Systems?
March 7, 2017
Reporting on the recent announcement of the “long-awaited Wi-Fi HaLow standard for products incorporating IEEE 802.11ah wireless networking technology,” Jim Hunter of Tech Crunch explains why this new standard may pave the way for more connected
man holding tablet with chart image
Study: Digital Intelligence Driving Massive Business Transformation
March 7, 2017
The Internet of Things (IoT) is widely regarded as the next revolution in technology. Cisco predicts that by 2020, there will be 50 billion things connected to the Internet, generating revenues of $19 trillion.
bnr-one-click-manufacturing-could-It-really-be-that-easy
One-Click Manufacturing: Could It Really Be That Easy?
March 6, 2017
One click manufacturing (OCM) is a concept that arose from the 3D printing world: design a 3D model of a part ...
blue digital screen
LEDs: The Eyes and Ears of the Internet of Things
March 6, 2017
It may seem to be a stretch to assert that LEDs play a truly important role in the future of the Internet of Things. After all, by themselves, they’re just lights. However, with sensors tucked neatly inside and a bit of intelligence...
business man standing on small rowboat in the ocean
What To Do With All That Data
March 6, 2017
Just as important as the hardware and the data it collects in an Intelligent System are the tools we need to process and analyze information. Otherwise, an Intelligent System does nothing to serve our purposes.
blurry servers in a data center
Securing LED Networks in the Age of the Internet of Things
March 6, 2017
Recently, in Nuevo Arenal, a little sleepy village in the Guanacaste region of Costa Rica, a dozen criminals cut the lights to the town’s main street during the quiet 3 a.m. hour, and then injured...
graphic spelling out internet of things
Microsoft and GE Partnership to Make Industrial IoT More Accessible to Businesses
March 6, 2017
General Electric (GE) and Microsoft Corporation recently announced the beginning of a new alliance. The technology collaboration will make available GE’s Predix platform for Industrial Internet on the Microsoft Azure cloud for industrial businesses
beer taps in a row
Internet of Beer? Avnet Helps iKeg ‘Tap’ Into the Internet of Things
March 5, 2017
You might think that running out of beer is only a major concern if you are the “refreshment coordinator” for a college fraternity, but it turns out that beer inventory management is actually a pretty big deal for bar and restaurant owners these
cat and dog together on bed
Strange Bedfellows: Marketing and IT
March 5, 2017
The Internet of Things (IoT) is creating a special alliance between two business departments that aren’t always a natural fit: Marketing and IT.
military plane taking off
Defense/Aero Spinoffs Remain an Exceptional Source for Breakthrough Technology
March 5, 2017
Yes, automatic across the board cuts within the Department of Defense (DoD) will put the squeeze on many within the defense/aerospace supply chain.
hands with black gloves breaking into a laptop
Mitigating Cyber Attacks MCU Hardware Accelerators Boost
March 5, 2017
Over the years, cyber attacks on finacial institutions and news organizations have garnered the lion's share of attention...
conceptual image of IoT icons forming a cloud shape in a cloud server room
32-bit MCUs Penetrate IoT Ecosystem
March 3, 2017
While 8-bit and 16-bit MCUs are well suited for IoT end-node applications, the 32-bit MCU has a key function in the IoT pyramid: It provides the data throughput, reading sensors and sending real-time sensor data over an IP-based network.
hand navigating smart car dasboard
Automotive Electronics: Top 5 Tech Trends of Tomorrow’s Smart Cars
March 3, 2017
In the United States alone, motor vehicles travel well over four trillion miles each year according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.* To gain a sense of this distance, consider that while it takes light approximately eight minutes to travel
citi rooftops with conception IoT lights connected to one another
Antennas for RF Designs in the IoT
March 3, 2017
The physical connection for many IoT nodes leverages legacy wired networks found in homes, offices, schools, factories and other areas. As we become mobile, wireless physical connections are becoming the norm. Each wireless connection requires at lea
man touchign IoT wireless icons
Going Up? Elevators, Windows 10 And The Internet Of Things
March 2, 2017
People are excited about the Internet of Things for a variety of reasons. It’s already made us more connected. And as more and more things are connected, a number of industries are poised to become faster, more efficient and more reliable.
a fridge, diswasher, and smart phone on counter saying,
Alarm Bells Ring for Unsecured Connected Devices
March 2, 2017
A hot topic at the annual Black Hat cybersecurity conference in Las Vegas this summer was the increasing risk companies are facing with the Internet of Things (IoT).
network icons over an abstract color background
A “Canned” Module/IC Solution Simplifies Wireless Implementation, but Potential Design-in Issues Remain
March 2, 2017
Incorporating wireless connectivity into a product is now a standard design requirement for Wi-Fi, IoT, and other applications.
Pigeons perched on the side of a building
London’s Pigeon Population Flocks to IoT
February 25, 2017
In one of the strangest, most innovative uses of Intelligent Systems we’ve seen so far, DigitasLbi Creative Director Pierre Dequesnoy came up with the idea of using pigeons equipped with sensor-loaded backpacks to analyze pollution in the UK’s ca
leaves, colorful blocks with letter designations, CFL lightbulb in shape of flower
Internet of Things: Low Power, Low Cost Connected Devices Fuel Demand for Microco
February 25, 2017
At the heart of the devices that make up the Internet of Things (IoT) are a variety of ultra low power microcontrollers (MCUs), sensor networks, systems-on-chip (SoC) and communications protocols such as ZigBee. These underlying technologies operate
cyber security chip on circuit board
IoT Proliferation Teeters on the Edge
By Alex Iuorio   -   February 6, 2017
Cybersecurity and the irony of what happened during U.S. President Barack Obama's January 12, 2015 speech to the Federal Trade Commission on the growing threat, during which he declared: “If we’re’re going to be connected, we’ve got to be pro
illustration of clouds with data storage symbols
The Internet of Things Pushes the Possibilities Offered by Big Data
January 29, 2017
The concept of the Internet of Things (IoT) encompasses things as tangible as a light switch, things as ethereal as a cloud, and all things in-between.
3D cityscape with IoT icons
Invest in the Future with IoT
January 20, 2017
You and I have known for a long time that connected devices are becoming pervasive throughout society, and it seems like the investment world is finally catching up.
the numbers 2016 on a dial lock
New Year’s Resolution: Let’s Get Security Right in 2016
January 29, 2016
BBC Business News recently reported that cybersecurity will be the main issue of global business in 2016. Another top trend this year? IoT and "the development of the hyper-connected world."
Related Events
Avnet and Microsoft Azure Sphere side view
Rapidly Secure Your IoT Applications with Azure Sphere
Date: September 4, 2019
Location: Webinar
Azure Sphere Technical Training Course
Date: August 16, 2019
Location: Webinar
How 5G will Impact IoT and Mass Connectivity
Date: May 29, 2019
Location: Webinar
Getting Started with IoT
Date: April 30, 2019
Location: Webinar
speedway logo
MiniZed SpeedWay Design Workshops™
Date: January 1, 2019
Location: Multiple Dates / Locations