Rambus Fellow and futurist Rich Page is perhaps best known as one of the leading engineering architects responsible for the development of early MacIntosh systems. Page was also a co-founder of NeXT Computers with Steve Jobs, where he led the design of the famed NeXT Cube, NeXTstation and Turbo NeXTstation. After NeXT, Page was president of Sierra Research and Technology, where he led state-of-the-art designs for the networking space, shipping 622-Mbps ATM, 10/100-Mbps Ethernet and Gigabit Ethernet designs.
The industry veteran is currently focused on a variety of exciting projects at Rambus, many of which are linked to burgeoning Internet of Things. Indeed, over 30 billion devices will be wirelessly connected to the IoT by 2020, making the rapid evolution of data transfer and security a critical industry priority.
“The rise of the IoT has clearly contributed to a considerable increase in the global data stream – perhaps somewhere in the neighborhood of 30%-40% per year,” Page told Rambus Press during a recent interview in Sunnyvale.
“Petabytes of data are being generated from a wide range of devices and platforms, including PCs, servers, smartphones, tablets, smart grids, connected cars, Maker boards, thermostats, intelligent appliances and wearables. This never-ending flow of information requires a corresponding increase in bandwidth capacity, which can be facilitated by high-quality serial link interfaces.”
In addition to placing significant demands on data transfer capabilities, the IoT’s security requirements will ultimately reshape and expand global enterprise IT programs due to changes in supported platform and service scale, diversity and function. An increasing number of systems are also expected to require security solutions that work across the entire product lifecycle – from manufacturing through deployment – while integrating seamlessly with connected services.
“Hardware-based solutions offer a solid foundation upon which secure software and services can be carefully designed and built,” Page explained. “These solutions will ultimately lead to new business models and monetization paths, effectively accelerating the development of a more secure IoT.”
As Page points out, the current design approach to IoT devices will likely undergo a paradigm shift, with security being treated as a first design goal, rather than a tertiary priority.
“It is somewhat inevitable, as sensitive data is already being generated by a plethora of connected devices and their sensors. Aside from the examples I mentioned earlier, these also include agricultural control systems, along with fitness and medical monitors,” he continued.
“Simply put, smart grids, homes and cities are becoming a reality. Ultimately, even ‘intelligent’ parking spaces designed to update both drivers and local municipalities in real time will join the growing ranks of the IoT.”
It should be noted that Earl Perkins, research vice president at Gartner, expressed similar sentiments in May 2014.
“IoT objects possess the ability to change the state of the environment around them, or even their own state; for example, by raising the temperature of a room automatically once a sensor has determined it is too cold or by adjusting the flow of fluids to a patient in a hospital bed based on information about the patient’s medical records,” said Perkins.
“Securing the IoT expands the responsibility of the traditional IT security practice with every new identifying, sensing and communicating device that is added for each new business use case. The requirements for securing the IoT will be complex, forcing CISOs to use a blend of approaches from mobile and cloud architectures, combined with industrial control, automation and physical security.”