The new development triangle: Three forces of the Internet of Things
The proliferation of mobile devices over the last 10 years, coupled with new trends in wearable technology, is driving us more toward the Inte
For many years, development houses—whether delivering systems, products, services or applications—have been wrestling with the triangle of forces that is quality versus cost versus time.
However, with the tech
Why have these forces become so much more important?
Well, thanks to mobile and wearable computing, and ultimately because of the Internet of Things, we are no longer dependent on traditional development models. New development models need new thinking! However, they also bring new challenges.
In traditional development, we humans control everything. We control what should or should not connect. More importantly, we control what data is stored and we also control what data is communicated.
In the new world of the Internet of Things, control is paradoxically open and collaborative, but it is also dependent on the notion of cognitive computing—where devices have enough cognitive power to make their own decisions on what to share, who to share with and what format to share in.
Let’s look a little closer at each of these emerging forces in the next sections.
Because technology is becoming more complex, more pervasive and more connected, it is also becoming more vulnerable to attack, whether deliberate or accidental.
For example, in the automotive industry, you might have a network of vehicles, traffic lights, road signals and highways, but a network is only as strong as its weakest link. If the communication channels between cars are compromised, hackers could remotely highjack navigations systems. In the future, it might even be possible for someone to highjack a vehicle itself and control it to a specific place. This could bring about traffic jams or, worse, cause traffic accidents.
This is only one scenario that could result from the exploitation of vulnerabilities in the security of a communication channel. If we extrapolate this scenario to other industries, it becomes clear that security is key in the new development paradigm.
As technology becomes more complex, pervasive and connected we may, often, be sharing more information than is really necessary. Balancing what needs to be shared to gain benefit from a capability versus what is “too much information” is increasingly difficult.
Devices from a certain device category (medical, social or automotive, for example) should only require a specific set of information about you. Often, this information is supposed to be confidential. But who is responsible for ensuring that these devices are only collecting what is needed and that they are not sharing that information beyond the point that you feel comfortable?
And who defines what is “needed” and what is “comfortable”?
Any device should not have to know everything about a user in order to be interoperable. Though sharing all of your data with all your devices might seem convenient, you might be providing opportunities for others to invade your privacy and could be putting your personal security at risk!
We could argue that a privacy review at the end of the development cycle would push us back to the forces of quality, time and cost, but unless we design privacy protection into our products from the start, the only thing we achieve is putting our own personal information at risk.
Consider the potential connectivity of mobile devices to future cars—your doctor may use his mobile phone to access your medical records and then connect that phone to his car to provide some other capabilities. But your doctor’s car should not have access to your private medical records!
If we acknowledge that our end goal is to have technology that is more complex, pervasive and connected, it is essential that we design in interoperability.
Take a look at fitness devices, for example. These affordable, wearable devices connect to applications on your phone and rapidly become part of your life in the same way that your watch or your wedding ring might.
The value of these products comes from the underlying syntactic and semantic interoperability that allows these devices to exchange not only data, but also meaningful information. The desire for increased functionality and interconnection between devices—where your fitness device talks to your phone, which talks to your computer and updates your status on Facebook or Twitter—has increased the need for interoperability. This drives the need for open standards, open platforms, shared file formats and shared protocols—all of which have the potential to increase flexibility, but can also increase unexpected vulnerabilities.
So, by trying to increase interoperability, we automatically put security and privacy at risk. By trying to increase security or privacy, we reduce our capacity for Interoperability.
Are you taking all of these forces into consideration? Do you consider privacy to be part of security, or do you agree that it must be treated as separate and equal?
Please take a minute to share your views on security and privacy versus interoperability with us on Twitter @VBunyard and @nadernassar. To learn more about how IBM Rational already supports mobile development, take a look at the mobi
Victoria Bunyard, Nader Nassar,