Being a computer person, I usually do not see technology like a form of black magic. Whenever I consider even the most complex system, I can imagine all the small pieces and the collection of techniques humming within this marvel. After all, even the most spectacular gadget is often a clever combination of stuff we already know, only better suited to fulfill a new use case.
However, even with this kind of open mind towards technology, I start to feel dizzy whenever I picture myself immerged in an ocean of intelligent objects, interacting in the Internet of Things. How can my daily life be driven by computers, especially the tiny ones hiding everywhere. Everyone knows that the Internet of Things brings a ton of security concerns and many smart brains are working on it – and the story of half million IP cameras recently hijacked to launch a DDoS attack is putting even more emphasis on this aspect – but…
But as an engineer, I think we often fail to see the most fundamental element of security in using computers: Is the computer feeling OK? How can a device operate properly if something in its computer part is silently moving away from its normal status?
On your way to work, when you meet people like the parking guy, or the security person in the lobby, a mere: ‘how are you today’ helps you assess whether the task supporting your security will be carried on today like it has yesterday.
With devices, I know I will want to know whether the ones I rely on do ‘feel good’. In an embedded computer, even the simplest OK status is becoming VERY important. Without becoming completely paranoid, wouldn’t you want to be sure your house smart locks are OK, that your garage door system is in good shape, that no one had broken into your devices and altered some parameters to spy on your whole household?
Our connected future will need trust. We will need to trust our embedded computers the same way we trust our physical locks and keys, first by selecting a good brand.
But because unlike physical locks, embedded devices are not immutable in the inside and must remain connected to operate, it will be even more important to be able to ask them regularly “How do you feel today?”. The same way your car dash board tells you, every morning: “you can trust me”.
With expertise in safety for a lot of embedded computing segments, Kontron has started to implement in its products the necessary health management elements that are becoming the essence of trust in IoT. They help making sure the computer brain inside is ok and nothing has changed since it was built or installed. As an end user, I want to make sure I can check this basic information for all my smart objects in the future.
How about you? Would you trust something which/whose health you cannot check?
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