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IoT throws up security, analytics and device management opportunities

Customers are going to be spending their money on trying to make sure the Internet of Things is secure and managed over the next couple of years, according to Gartner

The concept of the Internet of Things has been around for a few years but working out just how the channel can make money out of IoT is still a bit of a work in progress.

The obvious opportunities with ensuring there was enough networking bandwidth and storage to contain the increasing amounts of data have been there from the start, but according to Gartner there are other technologies that should provide the channel with revenue.

The analyst house has just produced a list of the top ten IoT technologies for 2017/18, providing a picture of where customers should be spending money in the short to medium term.

Top of the list is security, which is no great surprise given the number of warnings that have already been sounded by those in the industry concerned about the vulnerability of smart white goods and cars.

Gartner expects spending to be around IoT device and platform protection as well as looking to encrypt data that flows across the much wider network.

"Experienced IoT security specialists are scarce, and security solutions are currently fragmented and involve multiple vendors," said Nick Jones, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner.

"New threats will emerge through 2021 as hackers find new ways to attack IoT devices and protocols, so long-lived 'things' may need updatable hardware and software to adapt during their life span," he added.

Adding some weight to the security side of the IoT pitch is the 2016 Vormetric Data Threat Report, which has highlighted it as a specific area of concern.

“IoT promises to present a security hurdle of epic proportions,” said Garrett Bekker, senior analyst, information security, at 451 Research and the author of the report.

“Given the vast amounts of data that could theoretically be generated by IoT devices and platforms, much of it sensitive in nature, enterprises would be well served to develop corporate policies that clearly delineate what will be collected, who will have access, how the data is used, and how long it will be retained," he added.

As well as security the other areas that should provide some potential for the channel includes analytics and device management.

The growth in IoT analytics comes on the back of strong growth in interest in business intelligence tools aimed at the SME community and should be a logical extension for those resellers already involved in this area.

The top ten

According to Gartner these are the technologies that will be in demand over the next couple of years:

IoT Security

IoT Analytics

IoT Device (Thing) Management

Low-Power, Short-Range IoT Networks

Low-Power, Wide-Area Networks

IoT Processors

IoT Operating Systems

Event Stream Processing

IoT Platforms

IoT Standards and Ecosystems

The device management opportunity is not a new concept, MDM has been around for years, but there is a change with the scale of the management task: "Tools must be capable of managing and monitoring thousands and perhaps even millions of devices," stated Gartner.

"The IoT demands an extensive range of new technologies and skills that many organizations have yet to master," added Jones.

"A recurring theme in the IoT space is the immaturity of technologies and services and of the vendors providing them. Architecting for this immaturity and managing the risk it creates will be a key challenge for organizations exploiting the IoT. In many technology areas, lack of skills will also pose significant challenges," he warned.

There are some worries that without the development of standards the channel could find itself picking through a minefield of legacy apps and IoT devices that are struggling to talk to each other while trying to deliver connectivity and security.

“The IoT is still a nascent market. The ability to spin up a new solution can be quite daunting; there is a lot of effort involved in integrating a complete solution especially if you have to deal with legacy systems...Standards-based solutions give you an eco-system of multiple solution providers which is the only way to ensure multi-vendor interoperability and supplier choice and, therefore, deliver on the actual promise of IoT," said Dr. Omar Elloumi from the Nokia corporate CTO group.

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