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Security and data protection should be top of the agenda as interest around the Internet of Things continues to grow, according to SAP’s IoT VP David Parker.

The German software firm has been busy building out its IoT capabilities, and has also looked to support the wider IT industry in ensuring that the masses of data flowing across networks is protected. See also: 12 best uses of IoT in the enterprise.

"[Security is] probably the number one priority on our minds and our counterparts...That's why we all invested in the Industrial Internet Consortium. To make sure that we all collaborate on standards, but also collaborate on security protocol", says David Parker.

The Industrial Internet Consortium is a body that provides guidelines for best practices for businesses targeting the Internet of Things.

Around 140 companies have partnered with the Industrial Internet Consortium and can benefit from sensor/IoT device testbeds, progress reports and a code of conduct which incorporates security best practices.  

"Now we're actually making that more readily-available to the likes of you and I in the consumer market so you have to have that highest degree of security," he adds.

Last month SAP announced partnerships with leading security companies to provide 'end-to-end secure IoT solutions'. These partnerships include Certified Security Solutions (CSS), Check Point Software Technologies, azeti Networks AG and Intel.

CSS aims to provide a secure passage for data transfer and data encryption while Check Point Software Technologies provides protection against malware. azeti Networks AG and Intel will provide analytics and insight from data being delivered to the cloud.

SAP Hana to support IoT applications

One of the central components of SAP's IoT proposition is its in-memory data base platform, Hana. By speeding the handling of business data, SAP expects Hana to be suited towards deploying and managing real-time connected devices and machine-to-machine applications.

"It was the rising of making information readily available in real-time to our customers that prompted us to look at the way that we created our own applications" says Parker.

"Our true vision of IoT is to look at the data coming from the device or the component, anything that has a sensor. Augment that with weather data, social data, e-commerce data, sales data, point of sales data etc... to provide real insight."

One example is how SAP uses historical data analysis to see if a fault has occurred and instigate a workflow process to have a service engineer turn up on site to repair that faulty component before it even breaks.

"We have the content to describe and understand what that aspect is, either the piece of equipment or machinery in terms of its lifespan. When was it purchased? When was its last service? What's its health status? Who are the service providers?" Parker says.

This automated decision-making in essence turns predictive analytics into an Internet of Things service.

What's the future of IoT for business?

While the Internet of Things is still in its early stages for most firms, it is already a reality in certain sectors.

Manufacturing and energy sectors are already used to managing large volumes of machine to machine data, massively improving businesses effectiveness. Amazon warehouses are an excellent example of this.

But what other areas are we most likely to see development and why is this relevant?

"In five years from now I see the world of automation taking a full grip of things like human intervention. I see that as a world where I start to predict your behaviour based upon your personas and personal buying habits, and can start delivering services to you before you even realise that you need them", says David Parker.

"When you're channelling into the cyber security world everything is going to be, well almost everything- probably about 98 percent- will be available electronically".

"IOT, machine-to-machine big data has a huge role to play on that side in terms of the social network," he added.