Between his talk at the IoT Conference in Berlin and a
technology meeting with Germany’s chamber of commerce, IoT pro and
Mostafa Akbari talked to JAXenter about security, beacons and how
Germany is struggling to keep up with North American IoT
Security seems to be the biggest issue for the Internet
of Things at the moment. How serious a problem do you think
security is for IoT?
Security is always a problem. And security and privacy are
problems that are also handled really differently in different
countries. But the fear about security and privacy… you have to
see it in context. Take a look at the car at the moment, which
kills a lot of people every day; in Germany, in the US, in Dubai…
We have to see how people proceed with technology, and if we
continue in fear or learn and then make things better.
We have a lot to learn about security and privacy. We need to
add it to new to new technologies that we are securing, while also
raising awareness. But users also have to decide personally if the
technology is for them or not. But fighting technology because of
security fears it is not the right thing to do at the moment.
You were speaking about “Industry 4.0” during your talk.
What kind of potential do you see there?
I think Industry 4.0, (or I think in the US it’s called
“advanced manufacturing”) is a really big thing at the moment,
especially for US companies trying to develop new kinds of
factories. But Chinese and German companies are also trying to
introduce IoT, even to their older machines.
In Germany it’s especially difficult because we have a lot of
privacy issues and security issues and also a very poor internet
standard, especially in Bavaria and Baden-Würtemburg. It’s a big
problem for many manufacturers.
And also the people don’t understand alot of the “things”
because they’ve never really used the internet. So if you go some
place and all the machine engineers are in a small village and they
don’t have mobile internet (because there’s no mobile
At home they have just ISDN or very slow internet. So many
engineers don’t even know what possibilities there are in advanced
manufacturing. And this is a disadvantage compared to the US, where
people are more open and do things faster.
During your talk, you also mentioned an IoT setup at
your office where you used iBeacons to create new functions for
people sharing the office. Can you tell us a bit more about
They’re not iBeacons! They’re Bluetooth beacons. Ok, they’Re the
same… the iBeacon is basically just a protocol from Apple running
on the device. But we wanted to support every device, so we used
Bluetooth. Essentially iBeacons do the same thing. But you don’t
always have to use the trademark of Apple. And you can do it with
normal Bluetooth stack and develop it.
We’re trying to see where the potential is in workplaces. Before
we go to private homes, we wanted to see where offices can also
explore with the IoT… heating, office security and also to see
who in the office is where. How can you contact them? Is a certain
conference room available? Where is a certain person in the office?
Are they in a meeting? There’s a lot of different potential
We’re using the beacons, we use the wi-fi signal for specific
measurements, for locating people and also we have cameras with
motion detectors. And we’re also connecting them all together with
Google Glass. When I’m wearing them, I can look around and see
which temperature I have in each room for example, or who is in
each office. So we’re combining different display technologies.
Out of all the IoT devices out there, do you have a
The one I love most is the smartwatch with Android Wear on it.
But not because the device itself is so great, but because of the
services which Google provides for such devices. If you use Google,
Google Now and all that, and you’re not afraid about your personal
data (laughs), then it’s a really great help.
Smartwatch image via Shutterstock