The promise of IoT is rushing ahead and security concerns seem to be proliferating the telecommunications industry as of late. This month, a bill was submitted to the U.S Senate that mandates connected devices provided by government contractors receive regular updates, use the latest encryption, and eliminate all security vulnerabilities. The law could pass, but implementing it effectively is another story. Some believe that failing to mention artificial intelligence is a gaping hole in the legislation. Considering the government’s spending on connected sensors tripled between 2011 and 2015, shoring up IoT security in the public sector is paramount.
Beyond government use, it’s becoming clear that the IoT sector in its entirety must face some sort of regulation. There’s active debate in the industry about what shape such laws should take and how they could best avoid impeding growth and advancement of the technology. With enterprise-ready IoT platforms hitting the marketplace that streamline rollout, its likely regulators will have to play catch up. One major hurdle in establishing comprehensive and effective regulation is the disconnect between policymakers and IT professionals – they don’t even use the same terminology. Interestingly, while the legislative branch is looking to regulate IoT, the executive branch is continuing to investigate ways in which it could support it – The FCC is looking into repurposing some of the 900MHz band for broadband and IoT.
Even without regulation, enterprises are establishing methods that prevent adversaries from attacking their network by way of IoT devices deployed in the field. Many enterprises that want to pursue IoT strategies, but apprehensive of the risks involved, are looking at their carriers to provide managed security services. Even though the major carriers have been divesting their data center practices as of late, they are honing in on other services, including managed security to keep up with customer demand.
While pundits and policymakers contemplate the future of the telecommunications industry, the major carriers take steps to advance their services. AT&T and Verizon both publicized their intentions to continue testing 5G in the 28GHz band. Verizon is also looking to test as many as 60 Citizens Broadcast Radio Service (CBRS) small cells on the 3.5GHz band in the real world (outside of a lab environment). Sprint’s parent, Softbank, is exploring a complex takeover of Charter Communications that would combine it with the mobile carrier to better compete against AT&T and Verizon. There’s still talks of a T-Mobile-Sprint merger and some are speculating that we’ll see the carriers combine and then merge with Charter. No matter what happens, expect to see the major carrier innovate to provider more robust service offerings to end users.
That’s all for now. Don’t forget to stay tuned for up-to-date news and views from the Vertix team. Until next month…