The first mile of IoT is the starting point of enabling secure wireless communication which is necessary to create an interoperable ecosystem that ensures reliable data gathering.
The term last mile is used in context with different industries, such as for e-commerce industry the last mile is the delivery of product from the warehouse to the customer’s doorstep. And, in context to consumer internet access, the last mile is enabling a customers’ connection with the web. But, in today’s world, where many factors are driving IoT devices and they are expected to reach a whopping 41.6 billion, generating 79.4 zettabytes of data by 2025, everything works in the reverse order. With IoT devices, everything starts at the edge. Hence, the communication that these devices engage in among themselves and with the cloud is referred to as the first mile of IoT and not the last.
How the First Mile of IoT Initiates the Journey of IoT Devices
The first mile of IoT is an essential piece of the IoT network’s puzzle. Data gathered by IoT devices are majorly used for various analytical purposes by individuals and organizations. And for accurate data gathering and analytics, IoT network operators must ensure that these devices can collect, store, and transmit data easily and securely from edge to the cloud and vice-versa. And, IoT network operators can do this by using several ways.
Securing IoT Devices from the Origin
IoT devices can be easily embedded into any system, but enabling a secure wireless connection becomes a critical challenge for IoT platform providers. Nowadays, manufacturers are creating IoT device modules with individual identification and credentials, and embedded SIMs. The data gathered by IoT devices is stored in these modules at the hardware level, which makes it difficult to erase or change it. With such security at the hardware level, IoT network providers and manufacturers are the only ones who can operate the modules. Thus, if any hacker tries to hack into the IoT device in the first mile, then the device will auto-shutdown and become unusable.
Making IoT Devices Interoperable in the First Mile
IoT devices can collect both structured and unstructured data. And, data must be curated before crossing the first mile of IoT. IoT devices must be smart enough to differentiate between the data that can be processed by themselves and the data that need to be sent to the cloud. With many devices and data formats, organizations must make IoT devices and platforms interoperable. To manage these devices, IoT network providers and manufacturers have introduced techniques like zero-touch onboarding. This feature allows companies to view multiple layers of data through an app once devices are connected. Operators can then, by viewing data layers, process firmware updates remotely, which ensures that even the latest security patches are resolved as soon as they are seen.
IoT is not about connecting people, but about making the devices that have the necessary data to be connected to the people who want to access this data. Hence, the first mile of IoT becomes the most crucial part of an entire IoT ecosystem. Thus IoT network providers should ensure security in the first mile of IoT so that once IoT devices are connected and established, security does not remain a major threat in the IoT ecosystem.
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