Standardization: The Master Key to Unlocking the Full Potential of IoT

Illustration: © IoT For All

Advocates of the Internet of Things (IoT) are no strangers to its potential, knowing it has the ability to aid every facet of the human experience. With market reports estimating 41.6 billion connected devices by 2025 – and industry verticals across the board embracing digital innovation – now more than ever, it is crucial to establish IoT industry standards.

While IoT’s potential is promising, it remains hindered by the inability to fully embrace universal standards to properly manage the security, interoperability, and scalability issues that arise in day-to-day IoT deployments. These issues result in an IoT that is not simple, efficient, or trustworthy. With these barriers, the exponential benefits of IoT are wasted.

Interoperability & Security Barriers

Currently, IoT devices face impending security threats, with preventable security flaws existing at the hardware, software, and network levels. These flaws are exploited by hackers and other ill-meaning actors, leaving end-users with a distrust for connected devices. Due to market demands, manufacturers focus on releasing new products quickly, rather than focusing on ensuring their products are developed with the necessary level of security. This approach leads to the endless reports of security breaches that saturate the news today and creates a negative association when consumers hear “IoT” and “smart home.”

Competing manufacturers aiming to dominate the IoT market results in a severe lack of interoperability amongst most IoT devices and creates a fragmented ecosystem. A lack of device integration and different application frameworks results in an overall negative user experience – ultimately defeating the purpose of the IoT: to create ease of use and simplify daily tasks. IoT standard adoption allows manufacturers to quickly create and implement reliable, secure device discovery and connectivity across operating systems, platforms, transports, and vendors. This bypasses the need to develop to every physical transport or operating system, maximizing interoperability and market scalability.

Since interoperability and security barriers can affect the massive potential of the IoT, it begs the question, why would the industry not do everything in its power to make the IoT fully interoperable and secure? The good news is, there are industry standards that exist today that make this possible, and their benefits can positively impact both the smart home and connected buildings verticals.

The Smart Home Evolution Requires IoT Standardization

For a home to be “smart,” devices must be able to act intelligently based on the information they receive from another device. A connected home allows a homeowner to change the house temperature from a phone app, whereas a smart home has a security system that recognizes your car pulling into the driveway, communicates with the thermostat to change the house temperature, turn on the interior lights and pre-heat the oven.

For this scenario to be made possible, devices must share a universal/standardized IoT language. IoT standards provide the necessary mechanisms to enable easy implementation, communication, and security. Standardized devices and solutions must undergo robust, real-world testing procedures to ensure they work together and meet predetermined security benchmarks. With certified devices, users will no longer need to worry about different network types, devices, or ecosystems as they have been tested and proven to interoperate before they go to market. With the existence of secure, seamless devices, consumers will no longer need to endure difficult installations or devices that are unable to communicate with one another. As a result, end-users are rewarded with convenience and ease, resulting in customer satisfaction and future product purchases.

The adoption of standards allows the connected home to evolve into a truly interoperable smart home, providing manufacturers with the building blocks to ensure customers have the device interconnectivity experience they are looking for.

Standardization Benefits for Connected Buildings

IT managers rely on Building Automation Devices (BACs) to manage a company’s network in a commercial building. This can become complicated, however, as new smart devices are added to legacy networks and have difficulty co-existing. Today, building device applications remain in silos, each with their own proprietary solutions. Building administrators have limited control over individual devices in each domain, and provisioning is complex. IT managers face the difficulties of being locked into one ecosystem. This limits product choice, causing vendor lock-in and a lack of end-to-end secure encryption methods.

Standards provide a set of necessary requirements for devices, including device control and management, for solving the impending issues IT managers face. By utilizing industry standards, lighting control and building management systems can converge into a seamless, secure configuration. With these standards in place, building administrators gain streamlined control over application domains, with real-time monitoring of the shared common network, simpler provisioning, and the possibility to extend this to multiple buildings through the cloud.

Unlock IoT’s Full Potential

These are a few of the many benefits IoT standards have to offer. Vendors have many IoT connectivity options to choose from and these protocols have the capability to co-exist by providing mechanisms to bridge to other IoT ecosystems. Bridging features help to enable the implementation of multiple technologies for a holistic IoT approach. These protocols are available for adoption today and will unlock the massive potential of IoT – the industry simply has to turn the key.