“A real IoT platform is an ecosystem that connects to existing systems and infrastructure already deployed, allowing communication and data aggregation, while also allowing the flexibility to add more IoT devices and subsystems over time,” asserts Michael Skurla, CTO, RadixIoT in an interview with ITSecurityWire.
ETBureau: What impact has the adoption of IoT had on enterprises, in terms of data leverage?
Michael Skurla: IoT, at its core, has given a first amendment right to data, but how that is used can often be interpreted in many ways.
‘Connected things’ that communicate through electrical or digital means have existed for decades, but they have been purpose-built to communicate with neighbors within their neighborhoods. An example of this is the thermostat, which communicates with HVAC systems. The two understand each other, but the rest of the world, if interested, really didn’t have a right to see that data exchange.
Information and news were siloed either on purpose for commercial reasons or because there was a little known advantage of allowing other devices to understand the data these devices would be communicating about. Trades and systems worked in autonomy, with little leverage between them.
IoT devices, and technology, however, work on the differing philosophy that devices or systems should be communicable by nature, and anything wanting information within an infrastructure can use that data for its own purposes.
The differentiation here is small but mighty. Through the constructive application, users now have no silos. They can mix and match information from a sensory network of IoT technology to build logic and analytics that wouldn’t have been possible within a siloed ecosystem.
ETBureau: How can enterprises expedite data aggregation intelligence without compromising their security?
Michael Skurla: In general, IoT platforms offer the most secure way to aggregate data from edge IoT devices on mass, but offering a single point of data aggregation and refinement that can then be transferred to private infrastructure or the cloud.
Compared to attempting to aggregate and communicate directly with IoT devices, IoT platforms offer security and segregation from business operations to mitigate security concerns.
ETBureau: How do enterprise leaders monitor the globally fragmented infrastructure’s effectiveness and efficiencies in the current pandemic situation?
Michael Skurla: Remote monitoring and management utilizing IoT platforms had become a staple for enterprises with wide-area footprints far before COVID-19. The telecommunications and Edge Datacenter space had long adopted this methodology as it offered remote triage, and remote operations for what are typically difficult to access and expensive to service locations.
2020 has brought these technologies to the forefront but only for portfolios that are far outside of these markets. This includes areas such as commercial property management, where empty buildings still need to be maintained, and given there are no or vastly fewer people, problems in buildings can easily go unnoticed, leading to expensive maintenance problems.
ETBureau: How can IoT platforms be safely integrated into an enterprise’s technological infrastructure?
Michael Skurla: IoT platforms are often confused or misunderstood as ‘system replacements’. Nothing is further than the truth here.
A real IoT platform is an ecosystem that connects to existing systems and infrastructure already deployed, allowing communication and data aggregation, while also allowing the flexibility to add more IoT devices and subsystems over time. At their core, they are an additional layer that relatively easily gets added within a building or infrastructure and can communicate.
ETBureau: What trends do you expect will transform the IoT landscape over the next few quarters?
Michael Skurla: The bipartisan Internet of Things (IoT) Cybersecurity Improvement Act of 2020 passed this week sets a minimum security standard for IoT devices. Though welcomed as a standard for devices, the details are still unclear from NIST.
When published, this will provide an interesting dynamic to marketed devices that to date have had a range of security advantages and disadvantages.
Michael Skurla is CTO of Dallas, TX-based Radix IoT, LLC. Providers of the Mango OS platform for multi-site, distributed facilities’ operational intelligence, Skurla has over 22 years’ experience in control automation and IoT product design with Fortune 500 companies. The focus is on the intersection of software and hardware, emphasizing data aggregation and analytics for mission-critical industries. He is a well-recognized thought leader and regularly contributes to leading publications such as IoT Playbook, Oilman Magazine and Digitalization.