The Internet of Your Things: A Q

September 8, 2015 • Blog Post • By Atlantic Re:think

IN THIS ARTICLE

  • Amip Shah of Hewlett Packard Labs discusses the next-generation of the Internet of Things and what it means for computing as we know it

What if instead of moving everything to the cloud, we move absolutely nothing to the cloud?

 

There are few technologies more hyped than the Internet of Things. From connected thermostats to connected cars, the products we use every day are being wired to the cloud, creating unprecedented opportunities, but also unprecedented risk. Meanwhile, new technologies are emerging to help us take advantage of the former, while protecting us from the latter. We spoke to Amip Shah, the head of Internet of Things research at Hewlett Packard Labs, about the state of the Internet of Things todayand how we can expect it to evolve tomorrow.

 

Everyone's excited about the arrival of the Internet of Things, but is there anything to be worried about when we connect everything to the Internet?

 

The Internet of Things world today is both super cool and super scary. Its really about taking an old thinga thermostat, a toaster, a pump, a gas turbine in a power plantand connecting it to the Internet. But guess what? If all that datas sitting in one place and that one place actually gets compromised, all of a sudden everybody now has access to my home security surveillance video and my thermostat thats telling them when Im away and so on and so forth.

 

That doesn't sound particularly reassuring. What's being done to make a moresecure Internet of Things?

 

Weve gone and understood the strengths and the benefits of this first generation Internet of Things world. What we started doing at Hewlett Packard Labs is say, Okay, lets try and go onto the next generation.

 

What if that pendulum swings back to the other extreme where instead of moving everything to the cloud, what if we move absolutely nothing to the cloud? What if we actually take the architecture built for a very large-scale system sitting in a data center, but use that same concept and actually shrink it down?

 

Now I can have a very small Altoid or pin-sized system that could store the entire lifetime of, for example, a car. It solved the security problem, because ultimately nobody else can get access to my car. That is kind of what I would call Generation 2 of the Internet of Things.

 

So in Generation 2, weve removed everyones data from the cloud and put it in their cars. What comes next?

 

The problem is that if all my car ever knew was its own history, that data has limited value. If somebody elses car is having the same problem that my car is, it doesnt help if my cars not communicating with the traffic network. So what we wanted to do was build a system, and Im going to call it Generation 3 for the Internet of Things, that actually has to do with giving people control over their data.

 

I'd adjust my cars settings and my car would say for example, Hey, I just detected something wrong with the brake pad. Has any other car out there seen that? And if 10,000 cars respond saying, Hey, yeah, were seeing something weird with our brake pads too, that basically is an event that society at large cares about, right?

 

That's the notion of whats called distributed mesh computing. It maintains privacy, it retains security, but through collaboration and context it overcomes the limitations for thatsecond generation Internet of Things, so you can actually still get value without taking on all of the risk.

 

So were still sharing out data, just not all of it?

 

We realized that the sweet spot is figuring out what the right tradeoff is between risk and value. And that optimal tradeoff is going to be different for every person, every company, every use case. In one scenario, if Im trying to build an engineering system, I may have a very different value-risk tradeoff than if it happens to comes to my family or personal life.

 

Think of it as moving from the Internet of Things to the Internet of Your Things. And for every one of your things, we want you to actually be able to set how much data you want to share.


How do the Internet of Things, big data and the future of computing collide into one vision for technology? Two words: The Machine. Learn how The Machine will advance four emergent technologies in parallel to prevent the rising data flow from flooding conventional IT systems and to disrupt the way we think about computing.

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