Month: November 2016

Internet Industry Group Issues IoT Security Guidelines

With recent IoT-related cyberattacks, organizations and at least one government agency are now focusing on preventative security measures with another set of recommendations just released.

In addition to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s IoT security principles, the Broadband Internet Technical Advisory Group (BITAG) just outlined its recommendations for IoT device security.

The guidelines are intended specifically for the area of consumer-facing IoT devices, although most of the recommendations are for increased process and oversight in the supply chain of those devices.

Most of the recommendations are simply to follow current best practices that have already been established in other similar devices, like personal computers and other consumer electronics.

BITAG recommends using current best practices for software standards, device naming and addressing, security and cryptography. The group also recommends that the IoT devices industry comes together to explore the creation of a more formal cybersecurity program.

Most of these guidelines seem to be similar to the principles for IoT security that DHS recently released.

Those guidelines include incorporating security at the design phase of IoT products and services and enabling security by default through unique usernames and passwords.

However, there has yet to come a legal governance for IoT device security. Rather, the guidelines from both DHS and BITAG are recommendations for IoT device manufacturers.

Here are the IoT device security recommendations outlined by BITAG:

  • Follow current software best practices
  • Follow current security and cryptography best practices
  • IoT device communication should be restrictive, not permissive, by default
  • IoT device core functionality should work if the internet connection is disrupted
  • IoT device core functionality should work if the cloud service fails
  • Support naming and addressing best practices
  • Ship with a privacy policy that is easy to understand
  • Disclose if the device functionality can be remotely limited by the manufacturer
  • IoT device industry should establish a cybersecurity program
  • IoT device supply chain should be actively involved in addressing privacy and security

IoT interoperability: Where it stands and what comes next

The Allseen Alliance earlier this month merged with the Open Connectivity Foundation with plans to operate under the OCF name in working towards interoperability in the “internet of things” market through open source software frameworks and standards. IoT interoperability is a hot topic at conferences around the world, with the forecast billions of forthcoming IoT devices expected to be reliant on their ability to connect with each other in order to garner the most benefit, even in an industrial setting. Art Lancaster, CTO of Affinegy, told Industrial IoT 5G there has been progress in different verticals, but the growth opportunity of IoT needs to be sped up with a broad base of IoT interoperability using a consortium framework of many different companies.

Gartner predicts IoT reaching 25 billion devices and hitting $263 billion by 2020. Cisco sees it as a $19 trillion market by 2025, with an impact 10-times the internet itself. If these predictions are to come true, the current landscape must adapt to make connecting hardware, software and storage easier.

IoT ecosystems require interoperability to create seamless programmability of devices or sensors in enabling a world of connected devices. This means IoT will require standards to enable horizontal platforms that are communicable, operable and programmable across devices, regardless of make, model, manufacturer or industry. The hope is that connectivity between people, processes and things works no matter what screen type, browser or hardware is used. The reality, however, is that the IoT is fragmented and lacks interoperability.

According to a PTC blog post, this fragmentation can manifest as any of the following:

  • Different OEMs: devices or equipment that are not made by the same manufacturer can cannot integrate.
  • Different OSs: inability to run on the same operating systems.
  • Different versions or times of purchase: devices that weren’t made or purchased at the same time.
  • Different/incommunicable types of connectors or connectivity frameworks (e.g. devices).
  • Different/inconsistent communication protocol standards (i.e. rules).
  • Lack of programmability needed to connect in the first place.

Interoperability is a crucial missing piece to the progress of IoT, according to a report by McKinseytitled “Unlocked the potential of the internet of things.” The report notes:

  • Interoperability between IoT systems is critical. Of the total potential economic value the IoT enables, interoperability is required for 40% on average and for nearly 60% in some settings.
  • Currently, most IoT data are not used. For example, on an oil rig that has 30,000 sensors, only 1% of the data are examined. That’s because this information is used mostly to detect and control anomalies — not for optimization and prediction, which provide the greatest value.

In order for the “internet of things” to be successful, it should better promote IoT interoperability and open interfaces or APIs. Many devices focus on proprietary technology and interfaces because they view themselves as the only game in town, hurting the development and expansion of IoT.

According to Cloud Technology Partners, issues that arise around the lack of IoT interoperability with IoT-enabled devices include:

  • The inability to test APIs using common approaches and mechanisms.
  • The inability to push and pull information from devices using the same interfaces.
  • The inability to secure devices using third-party security software.
  • The inability to monitor and manage devices using a common management and monitoring layer.

To get around this, standards must be created. Interoperability between IoT is extremely complex, but the application layer is seen as the key place to get bridging technology to the layers below, according to Lancaster, who says IoT technology to write workflows still tends to be siloed, but the best place to transcend that challenge and gain broad interoperability is to work at the application layer. Wireless technologies like Z-Wave and ZigBee are at the physical networking layer, and early automation technologies put a simple interface schema for “is it on or off, what is the temperature, etc.” baked right into the radio modules. If you wanted to write ZigBee application you had to write APIs directly into ZigBee application. OCF is looking at creating standard specifications that allow for connectivity specs between each of the technologies.

Here’s what a Trump presidency means for the economy

Credit to Joe Brusuelas, Chief Economist at RSM. The post below can be found on the website.

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Changes coming for growth, taxes, infrastructure, interest rates and trade

The upset presidential election victory of Donald J. Trump and the Republican hold of the House of Representatives and the Senate signal major changes ahead in both the federal government’s approach to growth and the Federal Reserve’s approach to monetary policy. Most evident will be a return of supply-side tax cuts, large operating fiscal deficits, and a move back toward more traditional monetary policies that, over time, should lead to higher short and long-term interest rates.

Below we outline our views on the implications of a Trump presidency for economic growth, taxes and infrastructure, central bank policy and interest rates and trade.

Economic Growth

We anticipate that the Trump administration will attempt to achieve the economic equivalence of a strategic breakout with respect to the pace of economic growth. It will also seek significant reform of Dodd-Frank, which would be a boost for Wall Street, and move to inject private competition into the health care system. Because the GOP does not have veto-proof majority, the reform of regulation governing finance and health care will be quite challenging and difficult to obtain.

While there will likely be a faster pace of growth in the near term, uncertainty about the role and status of the U.S. in the global economy may combine to create longer-term issues that, ironically, act as a drag on growth.

Taxes and infrastructure

From a purely economic point of view it will be difficult to lift the long term growth trend much above 1.5 percent without significant tax reform and productivity-enhancing changes related to tax investments and improving the condition of the national infrastructure. Given the major demographic challenges associated with the aging of the baby boomers, and the gradual entry of millennials into the workforce, the underlying conditions of the post-Great Recession economy are not conducive to a quicker pace of growth unless there is major tax and entitlement reform.

With Trump’s election, forward looking managers and investors should anticipate large tax cuts, deregulation and a likely return of greater risk-taking by financial firms in an attempt to stoke a greater pace of growth in the near-term.

In our estimation, based on visits to policymakers in Washington and on Capitol Hill, the order of operations for the first two years of the Trump Administration will likely proceed in the following fashion:

First, a move to engage on comprehensive tax reform will likely be one of the primary orders of business in January 2017. We expect an attempt to craft a deal that would revolve around lower individual and business tax rates along with an end to corporate tax inversions. Under these conditions, an attempt to lower individual tax rates on the margin likely around the framework set out in the House Republican blueprint released in June of this year of 12, 25 and 33 percent would be a workable framework to put in place the most significant tax reform since 1986. We anticipate that this will take up much of first year of the administration and congressional calendar.

At the heart of Trump’s tax plan is the intention to reduce taxes on pass through entitles to 15 percent, which would decisively favor the middle market which accounts for 40 percent of GDP and employs one-third the labor force. In our estimation given the fact that pass through entities account for roughly 95 percent of all firms in the economy, that this would be quite popular among the general public and Trump’s rust belt working class coalition.

Second, we think the opportunity for a bipartisan bill on a multi-year infrastructure project is ripe for passage. The glue that would hold this together would likely be parallel legislation that would seek to tax the $2.6 trillion in corporate profits being held abroad.  There is growing realization in both political parties that the infrastructure around the country has been allowed to slip into such disrepair that it has become something of a national embarrassment.

An infrastructure project probably won’t just focus on roads, bridges, ports and canals. It will likely be much broader and encompass sewage, water, broadband, hardening the energy infrastructure and cybersecurity. In fact, we suspect that the infrastructure bill will be sold as necessary for national security given the recent wave of cyber strikes on private firms and the Russian-led hack of the Democratic National Committee.

It is important to note that a robust infrastructure is not an economic panacea. It is a long-run productivity-enhancing policy that is more of a legacy issue, as opposed to something that will jump start economic activity in the near-term.

If there is no tax reform, then growth will remain decisively in the sub two-percent range. A quicker pace of growth won’t return until the demographic bulge from the millennials and generation Y take power and reform the country and economy to be better aligned with their tastes, preferences and interests.

Central Bank Policy

The initial financial shock associated with the Trump’s triumph is quickly waning. Investors in the U.S. have been conditioned over the past few years to buy on dips and using them as an opportunity to bolster quarterly returns, often around, accommodative policy out of the Fed. While, that is certainly the case in the near term, there is likely to be volatility ahead as markets begin to price in what will likely be major upcoming changes in personnel at the central bank.

The era of unorthodox monetary policy will slowly come to an end. It is almost certain that Janet Yellen will not return for a second term at the Fed, and that Trump will move to fill the two open positions on the board with allies who favor a quicker pace of rate normalization in the near-term than the dovish contingent at the Fed currently has in place.

Interest Rates

Interest rates are likely moving higher due to the return of fiscal policy via major tax cuts, which are certain to lead to larger annual operating deficits. The logic of the supply side economics that will be at the heart of Trump’s policy framework is a willingness to accept large increases in the federal deficit in return for greater growth. If Trump enacts his tax policies, growth will likely follow in the near term. During the medium term, however, due to the probability of very large operating deficits, investors will likely begin to push up long-term rates to levels that are not conducive to growth.


In our estimation, the TPP represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the middle market to be given preference in a multilateral trade treaty. It would not be any surprise if the TPP quickly becomes the last major policy debate of the outgoing Obama administration.  Given the outcome of the election, the upcoming lame duck session of congress represents likely the last opportunity for a number of years to pass multilateral trade policies that decisively favor the middle market.

It is here where the greatest risks lie. It is quite clear that Trump intends to slow down the pace of economic integration between the U.S. and its trade partners. More than half of all U.S. trade is with its North American partners, and is an important source of growth in the economy. To the extent that Trump either intends to, or can, renegotiate portions of NAFTA will define what appears to be neo-mercantilist policies that the new administration may adopt.

Because of the relative lack of substantial policy preferences set out by the Trump campaign, at the current time it’s difficult to quantify the overall economic impact from what policies do emerge. It is safe to say that it is best to avoid starting trade wars, which are always popular at the outset but end up harming everyone over the long term.

202 Million ‘Connected’ Appliances Projected; Fridge Seen As Hub Of Smart Kitchen 11/02/2016

A flood of connected home appliances is on the way.

There has been a limited number of new products and market movement recently, but that is about to change, based on a new study.

The number of connected home appliance shipments will hit 202 million units globally by 2021, up substantially from 17 million this year, according to the Smarter Kitchen, Smarter Shopping study by Juniper Research.

Smart appliances will be dominated by large vendors, unlike the smart home ecosystem that was developed by small startups, according to Juniper.