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  • Challenges

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    Tim Kannegieter

    There are a number of key challenges remaining before the opportunity presented by the Internet of Things can be fully realised. 

    Batteries

    There is a perception that the cost of a "Thing" can be in the order of a dollar or so, due to the tremendous reduction in the cost of embedded electronics. While it is true that you can buy a system on chip communications device for approximately a dollar, the battery might cost $15 or so for a 10 year life. While the cost of batteries remains an order of magnitude above the electronics, mass deployment of IoT devices may be cost prohibitive.

    IPV6 Addressing

    One aspiration in the Internet of Things is that everything has an IPV6 address. However, at this stage its not possible for a IoT system developer to simply order thousands of IPV6 addresses in a batch. This is mainly because IPV6 addresses are managed by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority and are granted to Internet Service Providers who are generally not yet organised to support IoT system developers. At present developers are often creating devices that are capable of being addressed with an IPV6 formatted address, in the anticipation internet service providers do provide such services in the future.

    At this point in time (early 2017) IoT architectures must use proxies which give virtual IPV6 addresses to Things and connect to a gateway that actually communicates to the network. One way of identifying devices is to embed an EUI-64 chip as per RFC2373. This gives effectively a unique MAC address to every device and the EUI-64 becomes part of the overall IPV6 address.

    Industry collaboration

    There is need for a coherent national strategy to develop our IoT industry to foster innovation through the uptake of IoT, as well as startups based on IoT technologies. There could be greater adoption of crowd based innovation.

    There needs to be a sectorial approach and liaison with existing industry growth centres. For example in food and agribusiness, CASA regulations restricting use of drones to "line of sight" is inhibiting the uptake of many potential IoT solutions. In utilities, smart metering will enable many applications but could be encouraged. For smart cities, local governments need to be encouraged to experiment and liaise with other city-wide authorities. 

    There needs to be a better approach to open data, interoperability, and encouraging IoT-led growth based on shared data across supply chains and industries. This requires development of national or sector data sharing principles, guidelines for contracting and allocation of liability around shared data. 

    The current frameworks for spectrum and licencing need to be revewed to take into account the special needs of IoT. This includes the need for mass sensor connectivity, and better ways of sharing the licenced and unlicensed spectrum, as well as real time monitoring to enable spectrum farming. 

    There also needs to be better guidelines around security, including data protection. There is a need for consumer trusted models and updates to the Telecommunications act to cover IoT security.

    These issues are being addressed by the IoT Alliance Australia.

     

    Edited by Tim Kannegieter



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