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PCB007-Feb2020

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FEBRUARY 2020 I PCB007 MAGAZINE 41 Holden: Unless they came with infinite batteries, I'm okay. I haven't plugged any of them in. Unfortunately, or fortu- nately, I have two smart television sets that are now connected to the internet, but I still have a 3G flip phone. I can make phone calls without worrying about things, but people keep giving me devices that, frankly, I don't know if I can trust. Watson: That's true. There's a whole trust issue with security and these smart innovations, and there's a level of pain that people are willing to ac- cept for the convenience of the IoT ex- perience. In my home, I placed a dozen smart bulbs that I can operate from my phone, which is a lot of fun because I didn't tell my wife that I was putting them in. It worked out so that I was able to sit on my sofa, control the lights, and she didn't know what in the world was happening. Holden: I worked on the printed circuit design of one of the first internet thermostats for heat- ing and air conditioning, which were particu- larly useful for remote cabins, etc. When you left home, you could tell it to start heating the place up so that it wouldn't be ice cold when you arrived. And it was only by accident that we discovered that the thermistor we used for the temperature sensing was sound-sensitive. We found we could, through the internet, un- der the temperature mode, listen to anybody in the area. That wasn't by design. Watson: And as soon as you realized that, I'm sure you stopped the design process immedi- ately and did not proceed. Holden: We put it on our high-priority to-do list to fix that bug and find another thermis- tor. However, we didn't change the product line because the schools had bought it to have classrooms that automatically turned the tem- peratures up or down. It provided energy con- servation. Everyone says, "We're not listen- ing," but maybe they are. Watson: Legrand controls lights a little bit more like what you're talking about. We change the color of the light as we monitor outside and ambient light. We also change the color of the light to change the mood in the room. This is all done automatically. When these devices are controlled manu- ally, that's great, but now we're getting into where they're automated. We have enough sensors out there monitoring that we adjust it automatically as different parameters and situ- ations change, such as the weather. It comes down to a dual-pronged design approach. It in- volves hardware development being secured, and there are multiple ways that can be done. You must have firmware security involved as well because some people see these devices as challenges for their hacking skills. Shaughnessy: You have to stay one step ahead. You're like TSA; you have to be right all the time. The bad actors only have to make it once. Watson: Exactly. Shaughnessy: This has been great, John. Thank you. Holden: You have to watch "Runaway." Watson: I will. Thank you both. PCB007

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