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Changing life as we know it: the Internet of Things and cyber-physical sensing

More than 20 billion Internet of Things (IoT) devices are expected to be deployed within the next few years; by 2025, this number may reach as much as 1 trillion connected devices. Driven by growth in cloud computing, mobile communications, networks of data-gathering actuators and sensors, and artificial intelligence with machine learning, this trend will change how we live our lives.

Already we live among connected devices in our homes.

Increasingly, we will also wear them, drive them, and monitor our health via the IoT. More businesses will build, ship, and design products and manage inventory with connected devices. In our cities, transportation, communications, and security infrastructure, and services such as water distribution and energy management will employ IoT applications. Farmers will find many uses, from insuring the health of livestock to increasing crop productivity.

Several conferences scheduled for SPIE Defense + Commercial Sensing 2018 (15 through 19 April in Orlando, Florida) will provide forums for the latest information on systems and technologies enabling —and ensuring security within — the IoT. Abstract submissions are being accepted through 9 October for the 2018 symposium.

Anticipating the IoT future

Among significant ramifications of the IoT in the larger society is the ability of intelligence agencies and military services to understand, predict, adapt, and exploit the vast array of internet-connected devices — which may become unwitting players in future conflicts.

Brian Hibbeln of the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School and Robert Hummel of the U.S. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency are organizing a new conference on the Future of the Internet of Things (IoT), to help address the challenges of maintaining and increasing competitive advantage, ensuring cybersecurity in new products, and coordinating communications.

Autonomous systems

Advances in on-board navigation, vehicle sensors, artificial intelligence, image processing, wireless communications, and advanced servo controls are rapidly transforming transportation systems.

Enabled by artificial intelligence and machine learning, these platforms are transitioning from augmented assistance to fully autonomous operations. As the commercial private sectors develop and implement technologies leading to new forms of autonomy for terrestrial and aero vehicles, military and other government communities are able to leverage these advances through public-private partnerships.

Another new conference at SPIE Defense + Commercial Sensing, Autonomous Systems: Sensors, Vehicles, Security and the Internet of Everything organized by Michael Dudzik of IQM Research Institute and Jennifer Ricklin of SAGE Solutions Group, Inc., will convene academia, industry, and government to close the gap between research and development of autonomous systems.

Cyber-physical sensing

Fig. 4 from “Automatic similarity detection and cluster of data,”
by Craig Einstein and Peter Chin of Boston University
provides an example of the distribution of the averaging
phase in an algorithm to decrease execution time
and increase efficiency.
(Credit: the authors doi: 10.1117/12.2267844)
Other ongoing conferences at SPIE Defense + Commercial Sensing will also bring together researchers and developers for reports on cyber-physical sensing and the IoT.

Cyber Sensing 2018, chaired by Igor Ternovskii of the U.S. Air Force Research Lab and Peter Chin of Boston University, will cover network information security, data breaches and malware analysis, privacy management, and autonomous data analysis and protection in the global domain of cyberspace.

Cyber sensing may work within any part of the electromagnetic spectrum to provide information for the situational awareness required to maintain and defend the integrity of information assets and the networks that bind them.

Sensors and investigation

Sensors, and Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence (C3I), chaired by Edward Carapezza of EMC Consulting, LLC, will address technologies related to advanced unattended and attended sensors and command, control, communication, intelligence, and information technologies.

These provide the fundamental technologies, tools and systems for timely and effective support of homeland security, homeland defense, and law enforcement operations.

Among topics are investigative and computer-system forensic techniques to detect, acquire, analyze, and model information on cybercrime- or cyberterrorism-related events.

Disruptive technologies

Mentors and more: conference chair Misty Blowers
offers advice for students who are planning to
attend conferences in a brief video [:33] from SPIE.
Disruptive Technologies in Information Sciences, chaired by Russell Hall of Northrop Grumman Corp., Misty Blowers of ICF International, and Venkateswara Dasari of the U.S. Army Research Lab, will report on innovations in information sciences coming to fruition in 2018 and beyond that are poised to redefine business and connections.

Future technologies and interconnected systems will provide unprecedented utility and convenience while simultaneously posing enormous security risks. Abundant-data applications, algorithms, and advanced architectures will drive hardware architectures capable of processing more data than is possible today while minimizing energy demands. Quantum computing and quantum networking will allow for exponentially faster speeds. Increased computation speeds will vastly improve the ability to break encryption schemes, rendering legacy systems vulnerable and insecure.

Along with this, advanced security mechanisms will become faster and more complex, resulting in growth in technologies such as block-chain and distributed-cloud architectures.

Human-information complexities

A presentation from SPIE Defense + Commercial Sensing 2017
on "Determining the perceived value of information
when combining supporting and conflicting data
" by
Timothy Hanratty et al., U.S. Army Research Lab, describes a
fuzzy associative memory model for analyzing data.
Battlefields of the future will include complex networks of interacting intelligent systems (human, robotic, networked sensors). Understanding and exploiting the interactions systems will involve complex processes of information acquisition, transformation, collaboration, negotiation, and interactive or cooperative tasking.

Massive volume and complexity due to variety, velocity and veracity of distributed information — the bulk of it machine-generated — will rise, surge, morph, collapse, and pulsate through this environment.

Next-Generation Analyst, chaired by Timothy Hanratty of the U.S. Army Research Lab and James Llinas of the University at Buffalo, will take a close look at human-information interaction.


  1. Hi. What do you think about IoT solutions offered by microsoft dynamics ax? Have you ever used them? Could you recommend them?


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