Samsung Highlights Potential Pitfalls and Future Promises for the Internet of Things

Tuesday, January 6, 2015.

The hype and excitement that the internet of things (IoT) has been generating recently is in danger of failing to realise its full potential, if the devices and sensors which will support it are limited to closed platforms and exclusive to just one operating system.

This cautionary prediction is according to Samsung, who have outlined their plan to build their IoT offerings (which will reportedly account for 90% of their entire product range by 2017) in an open development environment, allowing devices to communicate and connect across all industries, platforms and operating systems.

As the Consumer Electronics Show officially kicks off today in Las Vegas, the early attention has been stolen by the Keynote from Samsung co-CEO Boo Keun Yoon, given yesterday at the annual event.

Samsung's vision suggests that the growing ecosystem will need brands such as Apple and Google, who have been touted as early stage pioneers in the field of IoT, to embrace the 'next frontier in technology innovation' side-by-side, rather than in competiton.

"It is our job to pull together - as an industry, and across different sectors - to make true on the promise of the internet of things," Yoon said.

Yoon continued, "On behalf of Samsung, I'm making a promise: our IoT components and devices will be open." He also made a point to illustrate that, without open development, "there won't be an internet of things, because the 'things' will not fit together."

IoT has been heavily discussed already for its potential to impact enterprises in a number of industry verticals, leveraging powerful data analysis and augmenting fundamental processes to vastly improve the daily capabilities of employees.

However, with perhaps the most prominent example of Samsung's concerns coming from Apple's iOS and Mac products, which hold a significant share of devices used in the workplace already, the notion that IoT will cause difficulties for many users is not farfetched.

One solution to this conflict in the connectivity of hardware, which will be necessary to facilitate IoT, could be a protocol named MQTT (Message Queue Telemetry Transport). When speaking to us back in 2014, John Jackson, Program VP of Mobility Research, IDC identified MQTT as one of the technology innovations which he saw as a potential game-changer over the next year or so.

"It strikes me that the absence of a coalescence around lower layer standards, that let one thing talk to another in a broadly acceptable way, is a barrier to that reality [of the internet of things] developing. So, this is a lower level protocol that lets object A talk to object B, regardless of what that object is," John explained.

This type of solution could have a role to play towards to success of IoT in the enterprise environment, with organisations already struggling to regulate and sustain the adequate connectivity and security measures to protect their corporate data and assets within mobile infrastructures.

Regarding the fundamental need for security measures surrounding IoT, BK Yoon said, "IoT must be secure - security must be baked into hardware and software at every level. Our whole industry must work closely together to make that happen."

It appears that Samsung's openness to the developer community is something they have already worked very hard on, as they were involved in the launch of the Open Interconnect Consortium alongside Intel and Dell in July 2014, to promote an open source standard to connect devices from different companies with the internet of things. Additionally, up to $100m in funding had been promised to the developer community by Yoon to accelerate Samsung's attempt at prominence within the IoT marketplace.

Video via CNet