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Security for the Internet of Things - Can you trust your IoT?

The Internet of things (IoT) is here, billions of things are already out there and 100x more devices are going to be deployed in the next few years. They improve our life and reduce cost in areas like Lighting, Health, Sensing, and Connected Video (see more here), however privacy, security, and authenticity are often just assumed. While we all want our personal health monitors to be private and secure, a simple temperature sensor seems not to deserve the same level of security. The picture changes though if we start to act and rely on the data coming from this temperature sensor. For example, a hacked temperature reading might turn on the AC in your house resulting in extra cost or, if it is widespread, cause power outages if a whole neighbourhood is attacked. A hacked temperature sensor in a power plant can be much worse. The consequences can range from costly to disastrously, for example, causing a piece of equipment to overheat and fail. As we stride to build these devices as single chips, security has to be architected in upfront. Security is paramount for any IoT, even for a benign device like a connected temperature sensor.

3 Markets that will Dominate the Internet of Things

IoT, short for the Internet of Things, is a hot topic these days, from boardrooms in technology companies down to developers, conferences, and the press. It is the next big thing everybody wants to have a piece of, so strategies and product portfolios are being compiled in order not to miss out. While everybody wants to be in IoT, it is less clear what these Things of the Internet actually are. A Thing does not imply something having a lot of complexity - so here is a simple definition: 

IoT: An endpoint device connected to the internet (able to communicate) with some intelligence (processing power) that is doing something (actively or passively/monitoring)

To become a big market, it must be doing something useful, something which improves our lives, something we need and desperately want. Something that gets our wallets out. The three categories in IoT that are mostly likely to attract buyers are Lighting, mHealth, and Connected Video. In this blog I will look at them in more detail and review opportunities and challenges, in particular to guarantee safety.

Google Glass: New Direction Needed for Chip Designs

New innovative products require new design styles. Google Glass came out a few months ago in April 2013 and has been all over the press. It is a striking design, in which the developers managed to put all electronics into a small box attached to the frame of the glasses. Google Glass Head PictureWhile impressively small, the designers would doubtlessy like to fit everything into the frame instead of having an annoying box on the side. This means that all components need to be long and thin, in particular the integrated circuits (ICs). However, making ICs long and thin so that they can be mounted inside the frame is easier said than done. This blog discusses the challenges and possible approaches to achieve it. 

Engineering Management

  • Are you stuck in a development project?
    • Schedule keeps extending - no believable path to project completion?
    • Not able to close timing and tape out?
  • Finished products contain design bugs?
  • Need an outside expert for a design review?

Engineering development requires experience, in particular embedded systems and chip design. We can provide expert consulting to help you review your projects, work with your team to find a schedule to completion, track down bugs, and improve your implementation methodologies.

Semiconductor Consulting

wafer-pictureThe uncertainty in the semiconductor roadmap has never been as severe as today. While in the last couple decades we could just wait for the next processing node to increase chip density and reduce processing power we are getting stuck now. Even though it is technically possible to build chips with smaller feature sizes than 20nm, it is most of the time not economically feasible (think aerospace industry Concorde versus 747/A380).