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IoT race is not a sprint, but a marathon, expert says

Internet of Things (IoT) service providers and vendors need to look at IoT as a customer-centric opportunity, while keeping the bigger picture in mind, said Dr Omar Elloumi from the Nokia corporate CTO group.

If they fail to do so, there is a risk of the market becoming heavily fragmented and stunted, ending up flawed, marred with security issues and vendor lock-ins.

Dr Elloumi said, speaking ahead of the Mobile World Congress taking place next week in Barcelona, that IoT is not a sprint race, but a marathon, and that vendors need to work together, and not rush to be the first ones releasing different gadgets and ecosystems.

“According to the 2015 McKinsey report ‘Unlocking the potential of the Internet of Things’, interoperability will unlock 40 per cent of IoT revenue – that alone shows just how damaging launching products could be without carefully considering interoperability,” said Dr. Elloumi. “The time required to create globally harmonized standards can create frustration for many of us, but this is nothing compared to the frustration consumers and industries will experience if their newly installed IoT system requires multiple controls for multiple devices and actually complicates their lifestyle or operations rather than simplifying them.”

Security is one of the biggest issues that IoT vendors and service providers are facing currently, he said, adding that detailed and well-documented specifications can overcome this obstacle.

Identification, authentication, authorisation, security association, sensitive data handling and administration are the key aspects, Elloumi said.

Dr. Elloumi concluded: “The IoT is still a nascent market. The ability to spin up a new solution can be quite daunting; there is a lot of effort involved in integrating a complete solution especially if you have to deal with legacy systems; this is the case for smart cities in particular. Standards-based solutions give you an eco-system of multiple solution providers which is the only way to ensure multi-vendor interoperability and supplier choice and, therefore, deliver on the actual promise of IoT.”