Internet of Things could be held up by physical flaws

Cisco’s managing director of IoT warns physical issues with sensors and batteries could hamper the effectiveness of connected cities

Despite the hype around the Internet of Things (IoT), there are physical problems with the technology that need to be addressed before it can become truly pervasive.

This was the belief of Bernd Heinrichs, managing director of IoT in Europe for Cisco. Speaking at the networking firm’s annual European conference, Cisco Live Europe 2014, the executive said some industry enthusiasts claimed the possibilities of IoT were akin to “the next industrial revolution,” creating smooth running, safe cities with all the data needed to improve the lives of the citizens and authorities.

However, Heinrichs also warned this utopian vision would not be achieved until certain flaws within the technology were first addressed.

“I have learned in the last six months working around IoT at Cisco it is not just talking about the use cases and the applications, and I want to highlight that we need to fix some physical basics as well,” he said.

“Looking into the details of the technology, the infrastructure and the architecture, there are still a lot of physical problems we need to fix. These things will be really important, like battery life, real time transmission and physical security.”

Heinrichs added: “There is also the lifetime of sensors. If you build them to last for eight or nine years and five years into one of them, the production flow stops working, it could have huge implications. So digging into this level will be important as well.”

Yet the executive was positive that the process of fixing these issues would not take the industry too long. He claimed Cisco was already working on the problems and hoped to have them fixed within two years.

“There is a solution for this,” said Heinrichs. “It is not something that is going to stop us for the next five years. With the teams we have working on it, I think we are going to address these problems in the next 24 months.”

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