By Wietse Beerens. The world is rapidly changing with innovating technologies that almost seem science fiction. But how will innovation shape your average day from 2020 onwards?
My machine talks to machines! M2M
Your phone wakes you up in the morning and asks you if you want coffee. You accept this offer. After this you walk towards your coffee machine and the hot beverage is prepared.
For breakfast you have eggs with bacon, fortunately you have two eggs left. The refrigerator registers that you are taking the last eggs and sends you a scheduling request to get groceries and automatically purchases “amongst other groceries” a fresh batch of eggs. You reschedule the pick up to noon, so you can do the groceries during work (from home).
(Sometime before 12:00) When nearing your car, your calendar will synchronize with the board-computer to project the destination and calculate the most time-efficient routing to fulfill the listed tasks. Seats and steering wheel are adjusted to your preferred settings. After rearranging and approving the route the car automatically starts to drive to your supermarket of choice. When you come back you’ll unpack the groceries, the refrigerator will update its contents and won’t be bothering you until next time.
You have one car, but you have a whole family. Your daughter walks to your car, the car notices that she is approaching and she wants to use your car. The car will notify its owner (you) that your daughter wants to use your car by sending you a message providing you with the following options:
- Allow Always: Because she is such a sweet princess,
- Allow once: Because she is going to get you your groceries,
- Deny once: Because it is too late to go out now,
- Deny Always: Because she wrecked your previous car, so definitely NO.
So even though you are away it remains your choice whether your car will be used.
What drives, in turn, this microcosmic revolution is the spreading of digital identities and the extension of these across multi-purpose smart devices. A nearly seamless infrastructure based on domains will impact how companies and individuals conduct business and day-to-day activities.
Domain and federations
Above examples illustrate the facts on the ground: Everything will be connected, but how does it all get connected and how are we going to manage this securely?
To be clear, not only hardware like cars, coffee machines and refrigerators connect to the web, but also software like accounts, calendars, games, etc. All these “things” that connect to the web are also known as the “Internet of Things”.
The binding factor will be identity, placed in a domain and connected in a federative way. Like companies have domains, individuals will have their own personal domain. This domain contains all the above-mentioned and more data, tons of data.
Federations are based on a two-way trust, meaning that when either one of the two parties removes the connection (trust), the federation is broken. The trust can be re-established by requesting and allowing access by both parties. Before establishing a trust the requesting party will inform the approving party which things and/or data are requested.
Everything managed in one place
Own your data
Creating a federation that needs data would be similar to installing an app that requests certain privileges like using your contact list or camera.
You can decide whether the trusting party can access the requested data and where the origins from.
All your possessions, data and connections are available through a portal where you can manage each item individually, helped getting there with Single Sign-on.
You can manage the federations by logging in to the portal, and select the manage federations option on a “thing”, after which you will access the admin page where you can change settings and privileges.
You can login to this portal using your desired account and identity provider, which can either be a Google, Facebook, Windows live account, Windows AD account or whomever decides the ongoing stride to host consumers identities to their advantage.
But how about using trusted applications or the ‘Things’ from the ‘Internet of Things’? With use of claims a party can approve or request you to step-up your level of authority. Let’s say that you are logged in with a basic account like Google when you want to access something which needs a more secure level. You will be confronted with a step-up scenario and you need to use a soft- or hard-token, familiar from today’s online banking landscape, to verify your identity. Only on successful authentication access is granted.
Let’s take the car as a life cycle item of your domain: you buy a car, use it and ultimately sell or discard it.
When you buy a car at the dealership, the car is transferred from the car dealership’s domain to your personal domain, making you the new owner of the car. The dealer will request a federative relation through you or the manufacturer so he can perform remote monitoring and maintenance, meaning that there are possible more than one owners (or at least: administrators) and members of the car. The manufacturer and dealership monitor the car and see how it is performing. You are the legal owner which enables you to use the car whenever you want and approve other uses.
When you wish to sell the car the car is removed from your domain and transferred into another domain, which is practically the same technical situation when the dealership transferred the car to you.
Earlier I mentioned that there can be multiple owners. This is because it is possible that the manufacturer will hold a master-key so they can manage the car when needed. This can be used whenever the car gets stolen, wrecked or in any other unfortunate situation.
How shared data saves money
Insurance companies will monitor your driving behavior to see how much of a risk you are. By improving your driving statistics you will lower your insurance costs and the information will be helpful in case an accident happens anyway.
Securely signing hardware devices will enable more straightforward law-enforcement investigations, while simultaneously giving fiscal authorities a tool to implement further controls. Exploring the impact of domain-based ownership of identity, data and electronic products is still in an elementary phase. Traxion attempts to take the maturation process one step further by currently developing documents outlining how the technical infrastructure may be set up.
What is the path?
Concluding to this article, we see a lot of machines getting connected. We want to manage all these machines (and other devices, applications and data) with ease. This can be achieved by having these ‘things’ adapt to allow federations. Thereby they can be accessed through one portal which redirect the user to the thing managed by him.
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