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Chip Industry’s IoT Facelift Comes With Security Wrinkle

MUNICH — Brimming with excitement, and with Europe already ahead of the pack, a maturing semiconductor industry looks expectantly to the Internet of Things (IoT) for yet another facelift, while also recognizing that the IoT, as the backbone of the connected world, may provide an opportunity for hardware-based security providers. But this will require semiconductor companies to move into software to address data, cloud, and usability management issues. So concluded a panel of four presidents and CEOs plucked from the upper echelons of the industry.

Predictions of connectivity applications were wide and varied, ranging from smart cars, smart factories, and smart cities to smart lives, but Gregg Lowe, president and CEO of Freescale Semiconductor, summed up the possibilities: “In 2016 we will have cars that can't crash, can preorder a parking spot at your restaurant, and communicate with your car if you have a heart attack at the table.”

Four industry captains discuss IoT and the state of the industry as a whole. From left to right: Gregg A. Lowe, President and CEO, Freescale Semiconductor; Carlo Bozotti, President and CEO, STMicroelectronics; Rick Clemmer, Executive Director, President, and CEO, NXP; Dr. Reinhard Ploss, CEO, Infineon Technologies. At extreme right is the moderator. The event was 'CEO Roundtable: Internet of Things: Possibilities, Challenges, and the Question of Security,'held Nov. 11 at Electronica 2014 in Munich.
(Image: Patrick Mannion, EE Times)

Four industry captains discuss IoT and the state of the industry as a whole. From left to right: Gregg A. Lowe, President and CEO, Freescale Semiconductor; Carlo Bozotti, President and CEO, STMicroelectronics; Rick Clemmer, Executive Director, President, and CEO, NXP; Dr. Reinhard Ploss, CEO, Infineon Technologies. At extreme right is the moderator. The event was “CEO Roundtable: Internet of Things: Possibilities, Challenges, and the Question of Security,”
held Nov. 11 at Electronica 2014 in Munich.
(Image: Patrick Mannion, EE Times)

It sounds good, but on the path to IoT, the issue of data and device security looms large. For Reinhard Ploss, CEO of Infineon Technologies, this is actually a plus. “The semiconductor industry opportunity is hardwired security to provide a backbone to which all applications can be attached.”

For this to happen, however, semiconductor companies must also move into software and data security. “We need the cloud for ubiquitous usage,” he said, a point not lost on Carlo Bozotti, president and CEO of STMicroelectronics, who responded, “The opportunity [for semiconductor companies] is in the cloud.”

Europe is already ahead of the US and most of the world in building out the infrastructure for the cloud and connectivity, according to Ploss, thanks to the infrastructure it has in place from its leadership in smartphones. Rick Clemmer, executive director, president, and CEO of NXP, was more emphatic regarding Europe's advantage, particularly with respect to security for IoT. “US is a leader in the Internet, but is a third-world country in security,” he said.

Still, said Clemmer, usability is a key issue for IoT devices, especially, as Bozotti pointed out, when the users themselves are becoming older as part of a general aging of the population, which creates even more pull for smarter cities — based on easy-to-use devices.

To read the rest of this article, visit EBN sister site EE Times.

3 comments on “Chip Industry’s IoT Facelift Comes With Security Wrinkle

  1. prabhakar_deosthali
    November 14, 2014

    For the IoT world not to bomb-out after the mass scale adoption, it is necessary for the world community to look and resolve and build the security infrastructure first.

  2. Daniel
    November 14, 2014

    “It sounds good, but on the path to IoT, the issue of data and device security looms large. For Reinhard Ploss, CEO of Infineon Technologies, this is actually a plus. “The semiconductor industry opportunity is hardwired security to provide a backbone to which all applications can be attached.””

    Patrik, any device connected to network or data transfer posses such security threats. It's a matter of how they can protect the device and make the data secure. Actually we have to look into such issues in design phase itself.

  3. Daniel
    November 14, 2014

    “For the IoT world not to bomb-out after the mass scale adoption, it is necessary for the world community to look and resolve and build the security infrastructure first.”

    Prabhakar, security issues and addressing it just like mouse and rat play. I mean it's a never ending play one is chasing the other by finding loopholes. So I feel security education and awareness are important.

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