Next-gen networks for an IoT driven world

Joel Young, senior vice president of research and
development and chief technical officer, Digi International

As I continue to meet with customers that maintain a network of connected devices, I’m often asked what the future of networks looks like in the IoT-driven world. As we consider wide-ranging initiatives – both market-driven and industry-driven – that affect the roadmap for IoT, I think there are certain initiatives that, on a closer look, represent the most promising areas of impact and return: Industry 4.0, smart cities, and the Food Safety Modernisation Act, says Joel Young, senior vice president of research and development and chief technical officer, Digi International.

The criteria below address key issues that must be considered in connection with each of these initiatives, including security, network capability, network protocols, energy usage, and more:

Measurable IoT: Any IoT solution should be able to define verifiable measures of ROI – revenue growth, projected cost savings, customer satisfaction, product-design, enhancement, or other metrics. This may seem obvious, but you wouldn’t believe the number of customer I meet with that don’t yet have a grasp of the problem they are solving,

Self-healing networks: Networks and devices must work cooperatively to provide updates on the health of the entire network ecosystem. Each will become more aware of their own state and transition from reacting in a descriptive manner to providing predictive operations by identifying areas of weakness and proactively addressing them.

Adaptive design: Gateways, routers, and sensors will learn to assist in discovery. Once they understand causes and effects of network operations, they can adapt accordingly for future implementations. This builds on the self-healing networks, by providing insights into the devices themselves.

Protocol-forward: Devices in next generation IoT networks are either extremely “fluent” – able to adapt to nearly every protocol, or act at level of abstraction where the protocols are irrelevant. Remember, a device doesn’t need to know all aspects of a protocol, only enough to get the job done.

Connectivity-judicious: Smarter IoT devices know when they should be open to interaction or “detach” when the information within their purview is not essential or important. This drives communications efficiency and security. It is not about collecting lots of data, but the right data.

Energy self-aware: The network and devices must be capable of acting in multiple modes based on operating conditions – to either be self-powered (battery), semi-self-powered (solar), or power-reliant (direct power source).

Instant deployability: Recent technology designs (pre-certifications and formation of industry standards, the promises of “plug-and-play”) are coming closer to reality. Devices should become so self-directed and contained that implementation no longer relies on technician expertise to tailor each implementation.

Inherent security: A digital fingerprint verification can be applied in the security process where authentication and authorisation become integral to the network. This extends beyond simple access control to true intrusion detection and immunity.

Environmentally expansive: To address a “sensors-everywhere” world aspects of environmental hardening (NEMA enclosures, temperature operating ranges, etc.) are applied to underlying data highways (RF, cellular, wired). This takes us beyond the simple prototype to a truly scalable system.

Reportability: Technologies must be able to deliver forensic capabilities to assist with creating a history of performance to assist in any diagnostic needs.

As the number of devices and the market consistently grows over the next few years, IoT networks must also evolve. The overarching initiatives driving the future of these networks necessitate that some very specific features and capabilities be architected into next-generation networks. This will help future-proof those networks and help us achieve the promise of a connected world faster.

The author of this blog is Joel Young, senior vice president of research and development and chief technical officer, Digi International.

About the author:

Joel Young has more than 29 years of experience in developing and managing data and voice communications. He joined Digi International as vice president of engineering in June 2000 and is currently the vice president of Research and Development and chief technical officer.

Comment on this article below or via Twitter: @IoTNow_ OR @jcIoTnow

RECENT ARTICLES

Smart metering: Load balancing leads to annual savings of almost £5,000 for a large UK bakery

Posted on: August 10, 2022

Energy management is becoming an increasingly important component of business strategy for today’s FMCG companies, aimed largely at reducing energy costs, improving sustainability, and achieving ESG goals. According to the 2020 Deloitte Resources Study, half of industrial companies report incorporating energy management at the corporate strategy level, says Matthew Margetts is director of sales and

Read more

Digi-Key exclusively stocks new XPLR-IoT-1 Kit from u-blox for purchase globally

Posted on: August 10, 2022

9 August 2022 – Digi-Key Electronics, which offers the selection of electronic components in stock for immediate shipment, announced that the XPLR-IoT-1 explorer kit from u-blox, a global technology specialist in positioning and wireless communication, is now available for purchase globally, exclusively from Digi-Key.

Read more
FEATURED IoT STORIES

9 IoT applications that will change everything

Posted on: September 1, 2021

Whether you are a future-minded CEO, tech-driven CEO or IT leader, you’ve come across the term IoT before. It’s often used alongside superlatives regarding how it will revolutionize the way you work, play, and live. But is it just another buzzword, or is it the as-promised technological holy grail? The truth is that Internet of

Read more

Which IoT Platform 2021? IoT Now Enterprise Buyers’ Guide

Posted on: August 30, 2021

There are several different parts in a complete IoT solution, all of which must work together to get the result needed, write IoT Now Enterprise Buyers’ Guide – Which IoT Platform 2021? authors Robin Duke-Woolley, the CEO and Bill Ingle, a senior analyst, at Beecham Research. Figure 1 shows these parts and, although not all

Read more

CAT-M1 vs NB-IoT – examining the real differences

Posted on: June 21, 2021

As industry players look to provide the next generation of IoT connectivity, two different standards have emerged under release 13 of 3GPP – CAT-M1 and NB-IoT.

Read more

IoT and home automation: What does the future hold?

Posted on: June 10, 2020

Once a dream, home automation using iot is slowly but steadily becoming a part of daily lives around the world. In fact, it is believed that the global market for smart home automation will reach $40 billion by 2020.

Read more

5 challenges still facing the Internet of Things

Posted on: June 3, 2020

The Internet of Things (IoT) has quickly become a huge part of how people live, communicate and do business. All around the world, web-enabled devices are turning our world into a more switched-on place to live.

Read more

What is IoT?

Posted on: July 7, 2019

What is IoT Data as a new oil IoT connectivity What is IoT video So what’s IoT? The phrase ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) is officially everywhere. It constantly shows up in my Google news feed, the weekend tech supplements are waxing lyrical about it and the volume of marketing emails I receive advertising ‘smart, connected

Read more
IoT Newsletter

Join the IoT Now online community for FREE, to receive: Exclusive offers for entry to all the IoT events that matter, round the world

Free access to a huge selection of the latest IoT analyst reports and industry whitepapers

The latest IoT news, as it breaks, to your inbox