Radical change needed for security industry to fulfil IoT potential

Posted: 4th June 2015

Radical change needed for security industry to fulfil IoT potential

Mark Lee, CCO of Intamac, an IoT enabler and innovator with over a decade of experience in this sector, says security companies shouldn’t disregard the IoT trend and should instead look to the numerous opportunities it offers, not least the exciting new revenue streams this technology presents.

Service-based business model

The adoption of any new technology requires a certain amount of agility; however incorporating IoT into any company’s offering requires a step change in the business model if it is to succeed. IoT places control in the hands of the consumer, allowing them to remotely monitor and control devices such as their security system. This is highly disruptive in an industry that has previously relied on a subscription-based business model, where consumers sign up to have their security system monitored.

However, the current systems in place require annual subscription and this has been one of the reasons for a low uptake from consumers. For example, in the US only 17% of homes have a security system, and even fewer have a monitoring service in place. This leaves a considerable gap in the market for companies to target consumers currently without a security system.

The opportunity for security companies is to offer a ‘pay as you go’ service whereby consumers can ask to have their homes monitored whilst away for the day or on holiday. Security companies could charge a small membership fee to have this option available as and when required.

This move to pay as you go services is likely to be a trend for the future, particularly for the security industry. Already other industries are moving to this model such as elderly care systems and child protection services.

Hacking: The elephant in the room

While the opportunities for embracing IoT are exciting, it is difficult to not acknowledge the issue of hacking, particularly in regards to the security industry where highly sensitive data could be at risk. As an industry this is something to worry about.  At the moment there are no best practice policies in place for companies to comply with. This means technology is being launched at various different standards, some of which aren’t of good enough quality from day one, and others aren’t updated so are exposed to risk.

A classic example is products having ‘username’ and ‘password’ as the default login settings. In most cases the user won’t change these, or won’t be prompted to do so. As a result the user is automatically vulnerable to attack and it is from small errors like this that the IoT’s ‘hackable’ reputation was born. 

To address this the industry needs standards in place to ensure all IoT technology is treated as a service from a service provider, rather than a one off product. Intamac uses this approach and it ensures that all the security in its deployed technology is maintained on an on-going basis. A good analogy of how this works is antivirus software - if you don’t maintain your antivirus software then it won’t be long before your computer will be vulnerable to attack. The same is true when maintaining security for IoT technologies. It is well within the means of the IoT industry to turn this reputation around, but only through adoption of best practices across the sector.

Predictions

A recent article said security products that aren’t connected to an IP network will die a death. While this may not happen tomorrow or next week, across many other industries there is a trend to connect products, and meet consumer demand to monitor their devices remotely. Typically the security industry’s product refresh rates have been slow, however bringing a radically new offering to the market usually stimulates strong uptake. For this reason, it is not difficult to see an increase in connected security products over those that are not connected products in three year’s time. Therefore it is essential that the security industry looks to adopt this technology and does not get left behind consumer demand.

–ENDS–

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