LIVE FROM MWC SHANGHAI 2018: The implementation of IoT standards could go a long way to solving ongoing concerns around security, a problem set to grow in line with rising numbers of companies and connected devices, an Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) expert believes.

Speaking on a panel addressing IoT security, Srikanth Chandrasekaran, senior director at IEEE, said there are two options on the table: “Either we can throw away all the devices and say they are not secure, or we can look at how to actively fix this problem.”

He explained the IEEE Standards Association has more than 1,200 active standards in place and more than 650 under development, with IoT security now a major focus area as concerns continue to grow.

Fellow panellists cited numerous recent news articles where the focus has turned on consumer devices being compromised. Chandrasekaran said IEEE was now “trying to understand what needs to be done at the protocol and application level, particularly in this space where we have a number of different technologies rapidly coming together”.

IEEE has found “input” in connected devices coming from various sectors and sources in recent years, such as clothing, healthcare, energy and manufacturing, which is increasing the challenge of securing IoT devices.

Chandrasekaran explained security verification was also becoming increasingly complex on hardware because, traditionally, there was a need to verify a chip does what it is supposed to do.

However, with more intelligent networks, “the emerging role is ensuring that a chip does nothing it is not supposed to do”.

Rise of the edge
Also speaking at the IoT summit, Robert Topol, GM of 5G advanced technologies, Client and IoT business group at Intel, addressed how edge computing and 5G can propel IoT. He spoke of the “rise of the edge” and the capabilities coming from IoT, with a focus on the “plumbing and the infrastructure” to make sure the world fully sees the benefits of many of the use cases currently being talked about.

“It’s important when we look at IoT that we do not solve the problems of yesterday. It’s important we think about the behaviour and changes we go through and the types of uses that we have for enterprises for personal uses, which will be much more focused on [artificial intelligence] AI and visual and media, and the way we consume and produce. We will become producers as much as we are consumers of that information because of the capabilities of 5G and edge computing.”