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Bench Talk for Design Engineers

Bench Talk


Bench Talk for Design Engineers | The Official Blog of Mouser Electronics

Internet of Stuff Arden Henderson



The big buzzphrase today is The Internet of Things (IoT). [1] Things that connect to the internet. Connected stuff. Lots of stuff. And the products that connect to the internet are rolling out at ever increasing rates. Connected cars, connected homes, connected things in homes, connected houses, connected wearables, connected stores for shopping, connected restaurants for dining, connected roads and bridges [2] [3], and on and on. Hotel robots.[4] Smart stuff. What stuff will be connected? The better question is what will not be connected. Rocks, for example. Wait, someone will market a rock monitor, connected to the internet by forest wifi. When a rock rolls in a forest, does it make a sound? [5]

IoT is a big deal for the semiconductor industry and all the industries that make things that support products made with semiconductors. [6] All of this stuff connected to the internets [sic] and webtubulars will require electronics. Some estimate spending on IoT will hit 17 trillion dollars by 2020.[7] That's a lot of dough for stuff, connected stuff.

And, you know, 2020 isn't that far away. Lots of money, lots of industry, lots of stuff.

All of that connected stuff will require IP addresses. It's worthy to point again that IPv6 will be needed as more and more things need to be connected. IPv4 won't cut it as IoT blooms. IPv4 exhaustion [8] will be accelerated by IoT. By the way, if you are using a late model cellphone, chances your phone has already connected via IPv6 as well as IPv4 when IPv6 was available. Even connected automated cat feeders can use IPv6. [9] ISPs are slow to roll out IPv6 but you do not have to wait. You can get your own batch of IPv6 with a IPv6 tunnel broker. [10]

What's missing from the buzz, relatively, are the notions of privacy and security. Privacy and security go hand-in-hand. Privacy is about the company keeping your data secret and protected. Security is about engineering the stuff connected to the internet so that the data can't be intercepted or even hijacked, the nefarious MITM problem. [11]

Privacy is a concern. All of these things -- connected stuff we wear, drive, plug in, turn on -- will be reporting back to the mother ship(s). Massive, huge data collection. What will companies do with that data? Anyone who has taken the time read the obligatory "privacy" notice page on any given website, where such actually exists, will be amazed to find that, while the company explains it will do everything it can to protect your data, it also reserves the right to sell, give away, or otherwise transfer your data to "third parties." As for keeping it safe, new drinking game: Take a sip of your favorite beverage every time you see a new data breach reported in your go-to news app. [12] [13] [14]

Ensuring strong security, which means strong encryption and sturdy certificates, for starters, is the other part that often gets an afterthought, even after the first things are shipping out the door.

It's all about secure stuff and secure networks. Fact is, privacy and security need to be at the beginning of designing the design if that thing is going to be part of IoT. [15]

It turns out the Mouser catalog, as usual, has all the things you need for making things that are part of the Internet of Things. As you plan the next coolest IoT thing, put privacy and security at the top of your to-do list. Bake that stuff into the stuff from the beginning.

It's the right thing to do, the right way.












[10] (Hurricane Electric) [11]






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Arden Henderson spent at least part of his life toolsmithing in dark, steam-powered workshops of software tool forges long gone, drenched in blood, sweat, and code under the glare of cathode ray tubes, striving for the perfect line of self-modifying software and the holy grail of all things codecraft: The perfectly rendered pixel. These days, when not working on his 1964 Flux Blend time machine (which he inadvertently wrecked before it was built after a particularly deep recursive loop), Mr. Henderson works in part-time castle elf and groundskeeper jobs, chatting with singularities spawned from code gone mad in vast labyrinths of vacuum tubes, patch cords, and electro-mechanical relays. Mr. Henderson earned a B.S.C.S. late in life at Texas A&M. Over the hundreds of years gone by before then and after, he has worked in various realms ranging from petrochemical wonderlands spread across the flat Gulf Coast saltgrass plains, as far as the eye can see, to silicon bastions deep in the heart of Central Texas.

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