Building an industrial IoT (IIoT) solution requires lots of hardware and software from end nodes to the cloud. More companies are combining resources to deliver end-to-end solutions because of the complexity of such systems and the need to cooperate, especially when it comes to details such as security.
IBM, NXP, and Adesto Technologies have joined together on an IIoT gateway solution tied to IBM’s Watson IoT cloud platform that will support a range of end nodes, including those that incorporate NXP’s A71CH secure element. The secure element is specifically designed to handle these IIoT solutions.
1. Adesto’s SmartServer IoT provides a link between IoT devices based on NXP chips and IBM’s Watson IoT cloud platform.
The package is built around Adesto's SmartServer IoT edge server (Fig. 1). Many applications can take advantage of the SmartServer without custom programming efforts, but this Linux-based gateway supports open-source RESTful APIs for more complex customization needs that may utilize support for MQTT-based control applications. The web-based management system provides configurable dashboards, alarms, and reporting, while the underlying system support provides secure communication between end nodes and the Watson IoT cloud.
SmartServer provides built-in support of device communication and data management for sensors, meters, actuators, and controllers through a growing range of protocols including BACnet, LonWorks and Modbus. MQTT support is often found in newer devices. Devices can incorporate secured devices like those based on the NXP A71CH, but that’s not a requirement. The gateway can interface to legacy devices and provide a firewall between these older devices and the internet.
2. The NXP A71CH secure element contains its own key as well as hardware acceleration and secure key storage.
The NXP A71CH provides an off-the-shelf root of trust (RoT) that’s compatible with SmartServer and IBM Watson IoT. It has an I2C interface (Fig. 2), and provides secure key storage and management. ECC-based authentication is supported, as are TLS setup and connection-less message authentication (HMAC). Chips available from NXP can be delivered already provisioned to work with SmartServer and IBM Watson IoT, including trusted X.509 certificates and keys. NXP’s chip also supports other cloud platforms like AWS and Google Cloud IoT Core. On top of that, the chip will support mbedTLS that works with the mbedOS.