IoT software specialist, Modio Computing, helps F-Interop to become the first FIRE+ platform with the capability to support real-time privacy assessment of data-driven IoT applications.
Interoperability and standards are key challenges facing the development and adoption of IoT solutions across Europe
The internet of things (IoT) is a relatively new field and, as such, does not have established universal standards. This is slowing down the development and adoption of the technology as businesses developing IoT solutions need to test and adapt them to work with multiple protocols. To be commercially viable IoT solutions need to be interoperable with all the popular standards in the market.
Solution testing is a real barrier to market entry as there are few opportunities to test. Businesses usually have to travel to events set up by standardisation bodies and may be on the other side of the World. For startups, the costs associated with these opportunities to test can make it impossible to participate, significantly slowing product development and time to market.
Digital Catapult is part of a European consortium delivering F-Interop, a programme supporting growth of the IoT sector
These issues are not unique to the UK, so Digital Catapult supported F-Interop, a three year EU-sponsored programme that aims to research and develop IoT industry standards, develop a platform that enables remote interoperability and performance testing for IoT solution developers, and support researchers and small and medium businesses that are developing IoT products.
F-Interop wanted to extend its platform to assess the privacy compliance of data generated by IoT devices
By their nature IoT devices generate and often collect data, for example an internet-enabled security system may capture events indicating that a property is occupied and also may capture the movements of occupants within a property. This private data needs to be secure and treated in a strictly confidential manner since it is personal identifiable information (PII). Note that different IoT solutions create lots of different data with different privacy requirements, e.g. some data must never be revealed even anonymised versions.
The F-Interop programme wanted to develop its testing platform to identify what confidential data a solution was generating and classify it. Then evaluate the level of privacy protection that was needed and how successfully the data was being protected. It also wanted to visualise the outcomes of the privacy testing to make it clear to developers where the strengths and weaknesses of their designs are.
Modio Computing is selected via a Digital Catapult F-Interop Open Call
Modio Computing, an IoT software specialist, responded to one of the open calls Digital Catapult issued as part of the F-Interop programme which specifically addressed these privacy challenges.
As a result of selection via the first of two open calls, Modio Computing were provided funding to develop a solution, PrivacyAnalyser, and collaborate with privacy experts from King’s College London.
Modio Computing’s PrivacyAnalyser solution enables remote privacy testing
Supported by Digital Catapult and the University of Luxembourg, Modio Computing developed PrivacyAnalyser, a solution that has been integrated with the F-Interop platform and enables:
- automatic detection and classification of confidential data as it is being generated and streamed to remote endpoints
- evaluation of the level of privacy protection offered by encryption, de-identification, and anonymisation techniques
- a graphical option for users to express their preferences, regarding information that is deemed as confidential, through privacy policies
- visualisation of the outcomes of the privacy tests using intuitive and informative user interfaces (UIs)
The project has developed methods based on pattern detection and big data analytics for streaming data combined with privacy evaluation metrics.
How PrivacyAnalyser is supporting the development and adoption of IoT solutions across the UK and Europe
Modio Computing’s PrivacyAnalyser has been integrated with the F-Interop platform, extending its service offerings with privacy testing services which helps IoT solution developers to assess and improve the privacy aspects of their applications and services.
PrivacyAnalyser is now an essential part of the F-Interop platform and subsequently a new service to aid experimentation within the FIRE+ ecosystem. IoT solution developers can now test the privacy remotely, which reduces the time and cost associated with testing.
It strengthens the market appeal of IoT solutions that have been tested using it as it demonstrates compliance with privacy requirements. A key benefit of the solution is that non-expert businesses are able first to use the privacy tools and end-users are able to understand the results of the privacy assessment so that the user can refine their implementation with the appropriate measures (e.g. use an alternative, stronger encryption method or stronger anonymisation to protect confidential data).
The integration of PrivacyAnalyser makes F-Interop the first FIRE+ platform with the capability to support privacy testing of data-driven IoT applications and subsequently empower IoT developers to shield their apps against privacy leaks.
How Digital Catapult helped Modio Computing
During the programme, Modio Computing was provided access to Digital Catapult’s extensive network of experts in the IoT domain. Through it’s funding structure, Modio Computing was also able to closely collaborate with experts at King’s College London to incorporate the most recent research in data anonymisation into its tool.
Additionally, Digital Catapult provided Modio Computing with the opportunity to showcase its solution at IoT week in Bilbao, Spain in June 2018. This provided both an opportunity to increase Modio Computing’s brand awareness in front of IoT experts and industry players at one of the must-attend industry events of the year, and an opportunity to refine the company’s USPs in the data privacy and IoT domains.
“Working with Digital Catapult as part of the F-Interop programme has been hugely beneficial. Through this we have developed a novel privacy assessment service for the UK and the European IoT markets and beyond. Access to technical support by F-Interop experts allowed us to implement cutting-edge research into practice and collaborate with subject-matter experts from King’s College London to whom we would have otherwise not had funded access.” Dr Ioannis Georgiadis, CEO, Modio Computing.
The innovations implemented within the scope of this project will be used to complement Modio Computing’s offering to IoT service providers, while the evaluation outcomes from the usage from F-Interop experimenters has already helped Modio to refine its implementation in order to achieve the best possible market-fit.
Additional research publication created as a result of this project
Having finalised the PrivacyAnalyser system prototype through F-Interop funding, Modio Computing and King’s College London have agreed to collaborate further and write a scientific paper that demonstrates the PrivacyAnalyser system, and the techniques used within it.
The material of the paper is drawn from our theoretical and practical work on the system, as well as from two MSc theses that were conducted on relevant/complementary topics at King’s College London. The paper will be submitted to the Journal of Expert Systems with Applications, for publication towards the end of the year.
Online privacy testing for IoT solutions removing cost and time for IoT startups and scaleups in the UK and across Europe
Modio Computing has increased its network to include more technical experts from industry and academia
Increased exposure for Modio Computing as a result of showcase at IoT week in Bilbao
F-Interop is now the first FIRE+ platform with the capability to support privacy testing of data-driven IoT applications