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Smart home IoT gateway race gets serious

IoT gateway market set to expand as nearly 700 million homes could be dubbed as smart by 2020.

By Joao Lima

The smart home race is intensifying with manufacturers fighting to be the number one connected home IoT gateway provider.

According to analysts, the smart home market is expected to grow from between 100 million and 200 million connected homes today to between 500 million and 700 million homes by 2020.

Internet service providers (ISP) have been predicted to be the early winners in the battle for the IoT home gateway.

According to Intel, IoT gateways connect legacy and new systems, enabling seamless and secure data flow between edge devices and the cloud through pre-integrated, pre-validated hardware and software building blocks.

Analyst firm Gartner said that the lack of a good business model or the immaturity of home IoT products has not stopped gateway makers from trying to develop the market to grab a share in the smart home opportunity.

Cable, internet and alarm companies, and mobile phone OS providers are actively creating platforms and ecosystems in an attempt to break into the market, according to the firm.

Gartner has predicted that the most successful home gateway provider will develop a system that seamlessly integrates with nearly any vendor’s IoT application.

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A system that locks homeowners into one specific OS limits their opportunity, as consumers will want to exercise their preference in terms of the IoT products they choose.

The security built into these gateways will also have to be at the top of providers’ concerns, as Catalin Cosoi, CSS at Bitdefender, told CBR: "Home gateway solutions for IoT devices should provide strong security mechanisms, such as proper authentication of devices and services, regular firmware updates, advanced data encryption, remote security management and in-device security.

"To enable interoperability between devices and IoT gateways, new protocols also need to be implemented. When it comes to interfaces, in order to minimise the attack surface, an IoT gateway manufacturer should only implement the protocols and interfaces required to deliver the intended functionality of the device.

Cosoi added that communications between devices, the gateway, and the cloud service must be cryptographically secured to preserve confidentiality, integrity, and authenticity.

Mike Turner, CSO at Capgemini, told CBR: "Securing multiple points of vulnerability, whether that’s a company laptop or a smart TV in an individual’s home, is a major challenge for organisations and requires a wide-ranging response.

"Without question, cybersecurity has to be front of mind for the whole journey, from product design and application security testing, ID and access management and ongoing defence."

Despite these security concerns, an ARRIS’s Consumer Entertainment Index (CEI) report revealed that in the UK just under half (44%) of respondents are not interested in the ability to manage or automate parts of your home remotely via a smart device, with 61% saying they would like to use a smartphone to do so.

The study surveyed 19,000 consumers from 19 countries, and found that globally, 29% of respondents would trust an ISP to supply this sort of automated service.

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