2015 was an exciting year for M2M and IoT technology. If you’ve been following our blog, you’ll know we’ve discussed how the term ‘IoT’ has made the Dictionary, demonstrated how it’s revolutionizing playtime and making Toy Story a reality by creating ‘intelligent’ toys, revealed how the Rugby World Cup became safer thanks to high-tech wearables and considered why people are betting on the ‘Internet of Food’ as a potential solution to global poverty. We’ve even discussed how the IoT could have changed the result of the Super Bowl.
Last year, Vodafone’s M2M Barometer 2015 report confirmed how the technology is playing an increasingly important role in the commercial and industrial arenas.
Surveying the responses of more than 650 business and IT leaders, the report contains some exciting findings. First of all, it’s revealed greater awareness of M2M among industry executives, with 76% of respondents having heard of the terminology, up from 61% in 2014. Furthermore, 78% indicated knowledge of IoT, up from 53% in 2014. It’s also found there’s been an increase in adoption of M2M services, with 27% of businesses now boasting IoT and M2M projects. And guess what? That number’s only going to increase, with a further 37% of businesses planning to implement M2M/IoT services by 2017.
Plus, the impact isn’t limited to big corporations; the report showed that around a quarter of SMEs questioned were using M2M – and, get this – the technology is actually enabling them to compete with much larger companies through extending the reach of their services.
The feedback wasn’t all positive, though. There were two key concerns which surfaced; security and data privacy. When asked what the barriers were to increased adoption of M2M IoT, 33% highlighted security worries, whilst 31% mentioned privacy, making these the top problems listed. The results mirror feedback from our survey of IT leaders about mobile working, which highlighted a fear of data breaches as a critical obstacle to overcome.
Vodafone’s report revealed 75% felt M2M and IoT bring unique security challenges to the table, whilst 72% suggested they were concerned about data breaches. Unsurprisingly, leaders from fields which involve the collection of large amounts of data, such as the retail and health sectors, displayed more anxiety about cyber-attacks.
We can’t afford to allow enthusiasm for M2M and IoT to fade because of security concerns. That’s why it’s crucial that corporations develop a strong security strategy from the very beginning of their M2M and IoT projects. It’s a question of ‘when’ cyber-attacks occur, not ‘if’, and good planning is crucial.
The first step to securing a solution is to identify, i.e. authenticate the connected objects and establish secure channels of communication. Our Machine Identification Module (MIM) or our award-winning Cinterion® Secure Element are examples solutions to securely connect Industrial IoT applications, while allowing MNOs to adapt to evolving cyber-threats. In addition, MIMs and our industrial-grade Secure Elements are significantly more robust than consumer variants and designed to operate in extreme environments, and offer high-level protection for cellular networks.
Evidently, there’s reason for optimism, since there are solutions available which protect M2M and IoT networks from breaches. With M2M and IoT constantly evolving and extending their fields of applications, we can’t allow security fears to dissuade industry leaders from pushing their M2M projects to completion.
By – Tim Cawsey
Works in Corporate Communications managing branding & content. Blogs on all things Gemalto, especially events and corporate affairs