intranet of things

Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore

An intranet of things is a closed network that includes smart sensors and actuators.  Typically, an intranet of things is a walled garden in which connected things are prevented from accessing the public internet.

The idea behind the intranet of things is that, there is much to be gained from making all corporate assets accessible from within an organization but also that, on the other hand, it may not be a good practice to make those things directly addressible over the public Internet. The term intranet of things was coined by Carlos Nizam of Airbus.

The concept is similar to that of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) proposed by General Electric.IIoT incorporates machine learning and big data technology, harnessing the sensor data, machine-to-machine (M2M) communication and automation technologies that have existed in industrial settings for years.

The driving philosophy behind the IIoT is that smart machines are better than humans at accurately and consistently capturing and communicating data and can do it more efficiently at a lower cost. While the IIoT is specific to a manufacturing environment, however, the intranet of things is applicable to any organization that wants to make physical or digital assets addressible but only within circumscribed parameters.

One hazard of both models is the possibility that organizations will consider that those things are inherently safe because they aren't made publicly available. Even when confined to an internal network, however, it's important to make anything addressible as secure as possible. Corporate networks are often hacked or accessed by unauthorized individuals and without proper security in place, each thing is a potential security hole.

See also: IoT security

This was last updated in October 2015

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