Is the next technological revolution already here? The Internet of Things is already transforming our daily lives, our health, education and businesses. And it has the potential to do much more.
The Internet of Things is developing quickly. It’s a phenomenon we’ve been involved with from the start. And we’re helping to shape it. We’ve built a data exchange in Milton Keynes, the UK’s first smart city. We’ve created life-changing applications like Telehealth which lets people manage their own medical conditions. And we’re using our expertise to keep connections secure.
There are about five billion devices on the Internet of Things already, but there will be 25 billion by 2020[i], 250 million of them connected cars[ii]. All these connected objects offer unlimited potential for us to learn how to use them more efficiently, conserve valuable resources and provide better services.
Handling the pressure
Along with those opportunities, the Internet of Things presents technical and security challenges. The coming tidal wave of data means that 50 per cent of IT networks will struggle to cope, and 10 per cent could be overwhelmed, as early as 2018[i].
The need to connect millions of low-powered devices calls for completely new types of WAN technology. Alliances and partnerships among developers and service providers are crucial to make the systems run smoothly.
And we’ll all have to deal with concerns about security, privacy and data protection. Research from IDC suggests that 90 per cent of all IT networks will have a security breach related to the Internet of Things by 2017[ii]. The UK Government has committed £1.6m of funding to develop standards. In the US, the Federal Trade Commission is urging businesses to consider the privacy and security risk of connected devices and improve employee training and awareness.[iii]
Add the challenges of big data management and analytics, and of developing applications which benefit businesses and society alike, and most organisations will be looking for someone they can trust to guide them. Having a networking partner with the right reach, capacity and expertise, and one who’s already investing in these new technologies, will be vital.
A guide you can trust
We’ve been involved in the Internet of Things since before the term was coined[i]. We’ve been applying our expertise in sensing and connectivity to supply chains for some time. Now we’re pioneering data exchange and leading the way with life-changing applications.
We have one of the most extensive and advanced communications networks in the world and we’re leaders in cyber security. We have skills in connectivity, data exchanges, applications and security to help you make the most of the opportunities in the Internet of Things – and avoid the pitfalls.
The many different networking technologies businesses will need come with their own complexities. We have the know-how to help manage them. And we can bring them together through our global network with every type of access, including ultrafast broadband, WiFi, mobile, satellite, RFID, Bluetooth and NFC. We’re investigating connectivity designed specifically for the Internet of Things, like Low Power Wide Area Networks. They connect thousands of low-cost, low-power devices like sensors, smart meters, location trackers and broadband hubs, which stay on for years.
Connecting the supply chain
BT Trace is a group of applications, sensing technologies like RFID, and data transmission and analytics services that track goods and assets right through the global supply chain. BT Warehouse Trace and BT Inventory Trace let you see where your inventory is at any time. That helps to make logistics operations more efficient, cut down loss and counterfeiting, and keep retailers well stocked. We developed it with TNT and it’s now in factories, warehouses, hospitals and shops around the world.
Learn more about BT Trace
Our data exchange is an open, standards-based, secure platform, which collects and curates big data from a number of sources. Using our own and others’ analytics tools, we translate it into usable information, making it available for others to access securely. And we encourage and help enterprises, public sector organisations, smaller independent businesses and individuals to collaborate. This model makes data an invaluable tool for solving problems through collaboration.
Making life easier in a smart city
Milton Keynes is the UK’s first smart city. We built, and now run, its data exchange, MK data hub, which aggregates data from sensors across the city. MK:Smart brings together information from car parks, lampposts, traffic lights and even bins. That helps to cut traffic congestion, save energy, reduce CO2 emissions and create a better environment for organisations and people.
Our work with Milton Keynes
We’re helping to control every aspect of a home – lighting, heating, media and maintenance through the connected home. Our involvement in smart cities means we’re helping improve services and save energy to benefit people and communities. We’re working with Scala to supply digital services on a global scale. We can tailor them to the needs of industry sectors that rely on in-store interaction with customers, like retailers, retail banks, restaurants and hotels. With digital touchpoints, integrated into existing customer relation management systems, users can change, update and personalise the content.
Systems like BT Trace mean organisations can track goods and assets, reducing loss and transforming logistics operations. By securing the connected car we’re working to improve road safety. And we’ve been helping improve well-being with high quality, remote healthcare services like telecare and telehealth.
Pioneering life-improving applications
Telehealth helps people with long-term health conditions to manage their symptoms without leaving home. They can measure vital signs like blood pressure, glucose and blood oxygen levels at home. We transmit the results through the network to the monitoring centre, where a team of qualified nurses assess them. We’re responsible for the whole service – equipment, connectivity and the technical platform, monitoring and call centre support.
Learn more about our Telehealth work
We offer security services that keep ahead of the new threats posed by the Internet of Things. We’ve called them PACE. That means they’re proactive, adaptive, collaborative and experienced. We use ethical hacking to assess vulnerabilities. Our award-winning SATURN Project lets you adapt defences in real time. We collaborate with partners, governments and third parties to share security intelligence and get the best possible picture of emerging threats. And we have unique experience, having worked for decades with customers like the UK’s Ministry of Defence.
Securing the connections
We’ve launched the first ethical hacking service for the automotive industry. Connected Vehicles (passenger cars as well as commercial vehicles) rely on various connectivity options, including wi-fi, 3G or 4G mobile data links, Bluetooth and other wireless technologies. They provide new on-board features and value-added services, like predictive systems to bypass traffic jams, cut carbon emissions, and improve safety and performance.
BT Assure Ethical Hacking for Vehicles tests how exposed connected vehicles are to cyber-attacks, helping the industry develop security systems to protect against threats.
We’ve just finished a proof of concept in securing the connected car for a major global auto manufacturer. Like many security projects, it’s confidential. But we can say that every month we prevent five million suspicious (and 250,000 definite) attacks on our own infrastructure. And our security for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games communications network stood firm, despite as many as nine million attacks a day.
Learn about Ethical Hacking for cars
The impact of the Internet of Things on industry
The Internet of Things isn’t a new topic, but it is certainly having a moment in the spotlight, and a fundamental impact on all industries from health and social care through to transport and logistics. Healthcare has seen the ‘bring your own device’ BYOD trend sweep across the sector with more than a hundred NHS trusts believed to have implemented some form of BYOD, from accessing emails on a smartphone to managing applications. Staff can use their personal devices on a corporate network. Which, above all, offers healthcare professionals the freedom to work when and where they want, improving their productivity, morale and increasing the time they can spend with patients.
Transport and Logistics industries are also riding the Internet of Things wave. With widespread deployment of GPS and RFID becoming reality. The use of RFID technologies to manage mobile assets and stocks has reduced losses, improved internal process, and cut unnecessary stock holding. IoT goods will be able to interact with transportation systems, tracking themselves on a global scale and providing real-time information for retailers, manufacturers and logistics as they require. This level of visibility and transparency can only enhance the end-to-end proposition for transport and logistics customers.
The Internet of Things is here, it’s big and it’s growing exponentially. And we’re at the heart of it all.
We take its scale and complexity in our stride.
The Internet of Things isn’t just about connecting devices. Ultimately it's all about people practising the art of connecting. Gathering, transmitting, analysing and acting on information – using the power of communications to make a better world.
Take the next step
If you want to see what we can do, we can use our demonstration facilities at Adastral Park and in 19 customer showcases around the world, or we can come to you.
We’ll help you master the art of connecting the Internet of Things.
REFERENCES[i] Gartner Press Release, Gartner Says 4.9 Billion Connected “Things” Will Be in Use in 2015, November 11, 2014 [ii] http://www.cbronline.com/news/iot-the-industrys-top-5-predictions-for-2015-4499851 [iii] IDC FutureScape 2015 [iv] https://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS25291514[v] http://www.wired.com/2015/01/ftc-warns-huge-security-risks-internet-things/[vi] http://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/kevin-ashton-describes-the-internet-of-things-180953749/?no-ist