The Top Interoperability Challenges of Home IoT
By Ken Dulaney
According to my Netgear Orbi dashboard, I have about 130 home Internet of Things (IoT) and other devices connected to my network.
The software is very convenient; it does a great job of protecting me from intruders and notifying me when there are issues.
I recently got my network attached storage replaced (there must have been a vulnerability in the chipsets used in the version I purchased) and I have swapped out my home security system.
This inconvenience was due to reports of attacks from all over the world (they are nice enough to tell you where the attack comes from in some of my systems).
Above the devices in my home network, I have many devices controlled by Google Assistant. I have found the convenience of using my voice to control them really saves time.
I use Google routines and IFTTT to string together commands that increase my time saving. And it’s been a good chance to reinvigorate some of my programming skills from long ago, albeit in a much simpler fashion.
I don’t seriously worry about Google listening to me. I think that the information they would gather wouldn’t be worth their time or the CPU cycles to analyze it. There are much richer targets than my wife and I!
However, there have been a few strange things goings on that needed to be investigated.
The Interoperability Challenges of Home IoT
There have been a few other things that seem to happen autonomously without any intervention from the members of the household.
I thought it could be some enterprising youngster who is just having fun at my expense or in the worst case someone tapping into my cable TV or SiriusXM subscription.
So I decided it was time to change the passwords on my home IoT devices.
Unfortunately, there was no easy way of changing all of the passwords as there are no good password managers like LastPass for home IoT.
The tedious process entailed:
- Changing the passwords one by one, an effort that spanned about 5 or 6 hours, mostly because every one of them had a different location and method for changing the password
- Once that was done, I had to go into Google Assistant and IFTT and reset the links to the services I was using.
- And lastly, where I had controls inside an IoT vendor application I had to make sure they were tested and working properly.
I started the effort about 9 AM and all aspects were finished by 5 PM. Too bad this 9-5 endeavor was not a paying activity!
What became clear was that this effort needed leadership. Amazon has its limited Sidewalk effort and Google does improve things, but it doesn’t seem to be leading the standards and interoperability efforts in this area.
So, the bottom line of this exercise was to make it abundantly clear that if home IoT efforts are to go anywhere, we absolutely need an effort to create security interoperability standards.