Start with these principles for secure, reliable smart lighting system design

July 13, 2018
In a recent webcast, IoT development expert Aniruddha Deodhar directly addresses concerns about smart lighting security and offers guiding principles to ensure system integrity, discussing the complexities of connectivity, interoperability of devices and software, and end-to-end security.  

The rise of Big Data has created a cascade effect across all technologies. From navigation and Bluetooth connectivity in our cars to remotely-controlled smart thermostats in our homes to downloading the latest offers on the fly while grabbing necessities at the local retailer, the Internet of Things (IoT) is no longer emerging but has been steadily marching for some time.

Tapping the ubiquitous lighting hardware, enabled with software and connected to other devices to perform as nodes in an ever-present Internet of Things (IoT) network, building managers, facilities engineers, and other infrastructure personnel can support data-heavy applications like indoor positioning, mobile asset tracking, space optimization, building security, and customer service in the case of retail. How do you ensure that these systems will be secured against entry points and direct attacks?

In our recent webcast, IoT development expert Aniruddha Deodhar, who is principal of connected spaces at Arm Ltd., directly addresses these concerns and offers guiding principles to ensure system integrity, discussing the complexities of connectivity, interoperability of devices and software, and end-to-end security.

Planners, developers, and engineers can build apps for customers upon the foundation of all the needs in the nearby pyramid graphic. Security is of primary concern; only the safest components should be considered for system implementation and launch.

Security must be built into the core of every device — from the smallest chip — to extend responsibility across the entire value chain before the smart lighting system is ever launched. If even one device has weaknesses, it can be exploited.

Firmware and devices ought to be protected with a sequence of identification, trusted boot instructions, OTA (over-the-air) updates, and authentication processes. All steps must be outlined and implemented properly to lock down gadgets and nodes from threats.

Security can and should start right in the manufacturing process, before your smart lighting baby is ready to be unleashed in a building-wide configuration. What kinds of measures can your electronics providers provision right in the factory? What instructions need to be configured for the on-boarding process after that — who will have ownership of the device and how will it be commissioned? Finally, how will software be updated securely — how will you debug or release patches? And if connectivity fails, what is the backup plan for accessing the device offline in a safe manner?

Deodhar answers these questions and more while attempting to simplify a subject that can appear very daunting at first.

There’s also an informative whitepaper download available in the Resources section once you register and log in for the on-demand webcast. We hope to “see” you at our next webcast!

Security making you squirm? Rest assured, it can be achieved:

Network security can be achieved in commercial smart lighting systems

Learn from the mistakes of others who came before you

Cybersecurity enables the next wave of innovation for smart lighting

Why IP to the end node in SSL is the end game

About the Author

Carrie Meadows | Editor-in-Chief, LEDs Magazine

Carrie Meadows has more than 20 years of experience in the publishing and media industry. She worked with the PennWell Technology Group for more than 17 years, having been part of the editorial staff at Solid State Technology, Microlithography World, Lightwave, Portable Design, CleanRooms, Laser Focus World, and Vision Systems Design before the group was acquired by current parent company Endeavor Business Media.

Meadows has received finalist recognition for LEDs Magazine in the FOLIO Eddie Awards, and has volunteered as a judge on several B2B editorial awards committees. She received a BA in English literature from Saint Anselm College, and earned thesis honors in the college's Geisel Library. Without the patience to sit down and write a book of her own, she has gladly undertaken the role of editor for the writings of friends and family.

Meadows enjoys living in the beautiful but sometimes unpredictable four seasons of the New England region, volunteering with an animal shelter, reading (of course), and walking with friends and extended "dog family" in her spare time.