Retail, IoT, and Smart Lighting Combined?



But enterprises also have to see the light when it comes to IoT security

Part of the retail scene is lighting, from ambient lighting to accent lighting. LED lighting has boosted energy savings, reduced heat buildup in freezer cases, and lasts much longer than other bulbs. Many stores have or are in the process of converting all lighting to LEDs, and IoT is on its heels. Why not combine them?  Lighting fixtures can also serve as an IoT platform for beacons and sensors to track customer interaction with products and displays. GE’s Predix Platform is marketed for Industrial IoT as “a comprehensive and secure application platform to run, scale, and extend digital industrial solutions.”[i] According to Lux magazine, “GE’s Predix Internet-of-Things network can transform the lighting into a smart digital infrastructure that uses data and analytics to optimise energy usage, employee productivity and customer interaction.” A large grocery retailer, Sainsbury’s in the U.K., has announced plans to retrofit all lighting in every store to LEDs by 2020. In a two-for-one inspiration, Sainsbury’s is integrating the GE Predix platform into its lighting installations to add IoT capabilities. The IoT network will utilize the new lighting system as a digital infrastructure for gathering data and performing analytics to improve energy efficiency, customer interaction, and employee productivity.[ii]

IoT security is at the top of the list for such systems, however, and smart lighting can be open to easy attacks if not properly protected. One out of every four luminaries will be smart by 2020, according to the Boston Group. Aniruddha Deodhar, Head of Connected Spaces, IoT Services Group at Arm, states, “Isolation (using hardware to isolate sensitive operations and data), cryptography (end-to-end encryption of data), tamper mitigation and side-channel attack protection (physical protection against tamper attacks such as spoofing, man-in-the-middle, malware and lab-based attack) and security services (secure remote firmware updates over the air) can minimize the risks of IoT lighting systems and greatly enhance their security features.”[iii] He goes on to say that good security starts with a Threat Model and Security Analysis (TMSA), and companies like Arm are working hard to provide the tools for securing IoT, including in retail, from the ground up.[iv] IoT can bring great improvement to the bottom line for retail, but IoT is not worth the headache of a breach if it’s not secured from the idea stage on through provisioning and beyond.

[i] https://www.ge.com/digital/predix-platform-foundation-digital-industrial-applications
[ii] http://luxreview.com/article/2017/06/sainsbury-s-adds-iot-capability-in-plan-to-go-all-led-
[iii] https://community.arm.com/iot/b/blog/posts/ensuring-security-to-realize-smart-lightings-vast-potential-in-iot
[iv] https://community.arm.com/iot/b/blog/posts/arm-launches-first-set-of-threat-models-for-psa

 

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