In the first part of our interview with Doris Mattingly, Director of Engineering at Lantronix, we talk about what inspired her to pursue a career in electronics to begin with and her perception of the burgeoning IoT industry right now.
What attracted you to a career in engineering and in particular M2M?
I was always very good at math and science when I was at school. Where I grew up in Connecticut I was fortunate to have attended an excellent local high school, where they had very advanced classes in the sciences.Therefore, when applying to university, the field of engineering was very appealing to me. I loved math and science so it seemed like a logical idea. The degree I studied was in electrical engineering, which provided me with plenty of hands on experience with hardware and low-level software.
When I was searching for a job, I knew I wanted to work with devices and equipment, so there was a natural tendency to gravitate to the M2M area. It wasn’t until around seven or eight years ago, that I first came across M2M terminology. It started off pretty big in the industrial automation area.
Do you see IoT as a natural evolution of M2M? Or should they be viewed separately?
I don’t view the two separately, but when I think about where IoT is going it seems like more of a natural progression from M2M. The two are tightly coupled. M2M provides the basic foundation for machines to work together, which is required for IoT .
The IoT is taking M2M to a new level as far as connectivity and control is concerned. It has gone way beyond what I would consider to be the basic M2M solutions and is able to offer far more advanced, complex applications and services. The continual expansion of application areas and all kinds of other advances are coming into play and it is taking off on its own tangent.
What are the greatest challenges facing M2M?
With the increasing number of connected devices and more and more machines communicating – lots and lots of data is being transmitted. This data needs to be secure and protected. Security has always been a concern. M2M technology and services are being adopted by an increasing number of businesses/markets so security is crucial. Some of the data being retrieved and monitored, for example, is coming from sensors or security systems – vital to the respective business to maintain the integrity and delivery of its services.
What are the security threats posed for users of M2M services and how can they be addressed?
Security is a huge issue and a constant challenge with M2M. Hackers are always trying to find ways to break into the security. As we get more and more connections out there, with more equipment and large volumes of data – a lot of it personal – we have to remember that it is getting sent all across the Internet using M2M services. As M2M inevitably evolves, the type of security required for the connections will have to as well. This will include changes in enterprise security – improved security protocols and hashing algorithms.
How long will it take before Smart Homes and workplaces become commonplace?
I think Smart Workplaces will become commonplace far sooner than Smart Homes. In my experience, people are much more open to smart equipment and polices within the workplace. I would imagine this is down to the fact that they know the devices are looked after by the IT department. In contrast, when at home, people are the king or queen in their castle. They don’t have the expertise or guidance on security from the IT team that they have when they are at work. In fact, the average consumer doesn’t even know what data is being sent out and whether it is secure or not.
With the IoT rapidly evolving, I believe the Smart Workplace is only about four or five years off. Solutions and services are being deployed all the time and I think it will be more widely adopted within the next five years.
When it comes to Smart Homes, I think they will continue to be more prevalent with newly constructed high-end homes. The younger generation is much more socially connected and has grown up with technology. I envisage them adapting to Smart Homes in around 10 years from now when they start buying their own homes.
Tomorrow, we conclude with the 2nd part of our interview with Doris as she talks which industries she believes will be the next to benefit from IoT and what could be done to encourage more women to work within the M2M and IoT sector.
By Doris Mattingly
Director of Engineering at Lantronix