By Allan Maurer
ATLANTA – Smart devices, such as smart meters, home automation systems, remote monitoring and other marvels of modern technology can make our lives easier, save money and energy and even keep us safer. But they could also provide sophisticated ways to invade our privacy.
The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) Standards Committee on Smart Device Communications (TR-50) is meeting with experts from the Georgia Institute of Technology for the second day Tuesday (4/13) to gain perspective on possible standards gaps in smart device communications.
Dr. Jeff Smith, Chief Technology Officer at Numerex(Nasdaq:NMRX) and chair of the TIA standards committee, told us, “Part of our mission is to establish standards within the industry to make sure that when people transmit data back and forth, it’s not only economical, but also secure.”
Georgia Tech, through its Information Security Center and its Center for Experimental Research in Computer Systems, and the Smart Antenna Research Laboratory, is a leader in research in these areas, Dr. Smith notes, just as Atlanta itself has a significant telecommunications industry.
The intent is to stimulate an Smart-Device-Communications-centered discussion about possible standards gaps, and areas for which TIA could demonstrate global leadership and expertise.
The discussion will look not just at standards to ensure not only that smart grids are operational, but also that they protect personal privacy, says Dr. Smith.
“People don’t think about security with things such as smart meters, home automation, and remote health monitoring, but each is an opportunity for folks to be able to get at your personal data and do nefarious things,” says Dr. Smith.
The data smart grids provide, for instance, could let people know when someone is home, what devices are being turned on and off and other information. “As more devices are deployed, we’ll see a larger awareness of the vulnerabilities within the infrastructure,” Dr. Smith says.
“Georgia Tech is leading in looking into these types of issues, making sure we do things in the industry that protects peoples’ privacy.”
TIA, he adds, “Has taken on the challenge” and wants to take a leading role in developing appropriate standards globally.
Speakers at the meeting are addressing issues such as the security aspects of smart devices, cloud computing as it applies to them, and the emerging technologies within smart device infrastructures.
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