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IoT Cybersecurity Has Become a Major Concern for Industries

Sabre, a software and technology company that powers the global travel industry.

priyaWith the growing number of fleet vehicles, the increasing road freight traffic, and environmental pollution level all over the world, it becomes a challenge for fleet owners to keep watch of their fleets. Hence IoT seems to come into the picture revolutionizing the future of fleet management and is set to make a set benchmark for this sector. Sabre is a software and technology company that powers the global travel industry. The company is partnered with airlines, hoteliers, agencies and other travel partners to retail, distribute and fulfill travel. Sabre India power mobile apps, airport check-in kiosks, online travel sites, airline and hotel reservation networks, travel agent terminals, aircraft and crew scheduling systems, and scores of other solutions. While sharing her thought with Nitisha from BISinfotech; Priya Dhandapani, Director – Software Engineering, Sabre Bengaluru Global Capability Centre (GCC) elaborates the pros and cons of IoT in the fleet industry.

Kindly highlight the value of IoT in fleet management  

IoT (Internet of Things) is going through a rapid transformation, and its advanced capabilities make it an ideal solution for fleet management. IoT integration will ensure compliance, improve efficiency, reduce costs, gather meaningful data about the vehicle – like current location, route, live traffic information, fuel usage, time spent in driving etc., to accelerate decision-making. Some of the benefits of leveraging IoT for fleet management include real-time analytics, improved driver safety, better fuel management, planned and timely vehicle maintenance, improved delivery quality and speed etc.

The data collected from IoT devices can help Identify products that are in high demand, localize the storage and supply thereby decreasing the overall delivery cost. It also lowers fuel usage, which in turn reduces the fleet’s carbon footprint.  With the emergence of future tech like autonomous/self-driving vehicles, IoT technology can help drastically improve the ability of these vehicles to better anticipate imminent threats and risks present in the environment.

What are your points on cyber threat integration complexities of disparate systems, security, and privacy risks associated with connectivity solutions?

With IoT, sensors collect, analyse and act on data providing new ways for businesses to create value. However, this also poses a threat of the data being compromised. Since sensitive data is shared through disparate systems using IoT, the possibility of an imminent cyber-attack is high.

Cyber-attacks can be launched against any IoT asset, which includes home automation systems – thus giving attackers control over household appliances such as heaters, air conditioners, television, lighting panels, and physical security systems. Data collected from sensors embedded in these systems can inform the intruder when someone is at home or out. Cyber-attacks can also be launched against public infrastructures like power grids and traffic systems. In short, along with the multitude of benefits that IoT offers, it also opens the floodgate to new security problems.

IoT devices are extremely valuable to cyber attackers owing to the following reasons:

  • IoT devices are unattended by humans, therefore it becomes very easy for an attacker to gain physical access to the system
  • IoT components are interconnected using a wireless network, which makes it easier for an attacker to gain confidential information by eavesdropping
  • IoT components require low power and computing resources, so they cannot support complex security models

In large enterprises, the approach to cyber risk varies by region, business unit and product. The scale and scope of data generated and collected by IoT devices and the fact that third parties are heavy users of data, the need for an integrated cyber risk management solution becomes even more critical. Gartner predicts that 40% of board of directors will have a board member overseeing cybersecurity processes, raising its level of importance within organizations worldwide. IoT cybersecurity has been a top concern for industries across the board and will continue to be a critical component for both, growth and maintaining existing connections.

Challenges and scopes of IoT in the fleet sector?

There are a plethora of interconnected devices these days, ranging from cars, health monitoring devices, and kitchen appliances, to traffic systems etc. This also brings forth several challenges in the fleet sector:

  • In addition to security and privacy concerns, IoT provides very minimal options to extract data in complex environments. For instance, when a vehicle is transporting a temperature sensitive drug, measuring the real-time temperature of the drug can prove to be quite challenging
  • Both wired and wireless connectivity is critical for IoT devices to function. Poor connectivity becomes a challenge, where IoT sensors are required to monitor, process data, and supply information
  • Even though IoT devices require less power, but because they’re battery operated and run round the clock, they’re not very carbon neutral. Usage of green power sources like wind/solar are yet to be established
  • Since IoT devices are complex – the coming together of various technologies, protocols, networks, and domain, it requires the support of multiple experts such as a mechanical, electrical and computer engineer, etc.
  • There is no standardized approach to for the disposal of IO-enabled electronic devices, because it could be a serious threat in the wrong hands
  • Lack of relevant infrastructure in developing countries, poor network connectivity, and the shortage of technically knowledgeable personnel can hamper the growth of the local IoT market
  • With the rise in demand for IoT devices, manufacturers are more eager to produce and get their IoT devices to the market faster, without giving much thought to security

Recent advancements in AI and Machine learning has increased the scope of IoT. Mckinsey report estimated the global IoT market to potentially have a worth between $3.9 and $11.1 trillion by 2025. More cities will become smarter by adopting IoT technologies to save time and cost.

In addition to this, the other growth factors for IoT in fleet management include:

  1. Rising demand for fuel management solutions to optimize vehicle performance
  2. Growing need for efficient fleet operation with low operational costs
  3. Increasing preference towards automated vehicles and advanced technologies
  4. 5G officially arrived in 2021 and it will continue to have an impact on IoT.  5G will bring a powerful combination of speed, bandwidth, low latency, and cost efficiency to the fore, which will help drive future innovations. For example, humans and animals in the near future, could have IoT implants embedded in them to communicate with other IoT devices.

Any flagship offering you wish to highlight?

Travellers expect personalized experiences during their travels, hence airlines must adopt a personalization strategy to augment traveller experience. Sabre and Google are jointly developing an industry first Artificial Intelligence (AI) driven technology platform that delivers AI and machine learning capabilities to deliver the right offer at the right time, across all relevant channels for the customers. Travel AI will enable Sabre customers to seamlessly integrate with their own proprietary solutions in the future.


Nitisha Dubey

I am a Journalist with a post graduate degree in Journalism & Mass Communication. I love reading non-fiction books, exploring different destinations and varieties of cuisines. Biographies and historical movies are few favourites.

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