30 Sep 2020

IoT security doesn’t have to drain your batteries

For any business that relies on battery-operated IoT devices to succeed, there’s no way around low power consumption.


In the coming years, there will be enormous growth in the number of connected IoT devices. Most of them will be constrained devices, where highly optimized power consumption is a key success factor for the business case. Take micromobility devices, for example. For an e-scooter business to thrive, it has to keep its scooters up and running for as long as possible to maximize their use, as this means more revenue and reduced operating cost. The same is true for any business that relies on battery-operated IoT devices: to succeed, there’s no way around low power consumption.


But along with the tremendous business opportunity this presents comes the obligation to properly manage the corresponding risks. It is well known that cyber-attacks are among the most relevant threats for IoT companies. That’s why the protection of data, the main asset of many IoT business models, needs to be prioritized. The problem is, boosting IoT security has typically been at odds with cutting power demand.

To transmit data securely, it first has to be encrypted. Effectively encrypting data in the constrained environment that most IoT devices operate in is difficult for one simple reason: the encryption algorithms used today were not designed for power-constrained applications. Encryption creates an additional overhead of data, and transmitting more data means more power consumption. Particularly for IoT devices that typically send only small chunks of payload (the actual data itself) multiple times a day, excessive data overhead can be costly to your business in more ways than one.

The u-blox SARA-R5 LTE-M modules solve the efficiency and security imperatives of IoT devices for battery-operated applications. SARA-R5 modules are based on the u-blox UBX-R5 cellular chipset and the u-blox M8 GNSS receiver chip. They are secure by design – each module has a unique and immutable identity based on a robust root of trust that forms the basis for a trusted set of advanced security functionality.

This combination brings an out-of-the box solution to protect data from silicon to cloud with authenticated encryption via a Swiss-made symmetric key management system that lets you to abandon expensive PKI or PSK setups in favor of a more scalable, lighter, and LPWA-optimized way to manage crypto keys. The disruptive solution decreases power consumption and data usage by reducing data overhead up to 8-fold on (D)TLS sessions.  

u-blox SARA-R5 modules with IoT Security-as-a-Service are the ideal solution for scenarios like micromobility, which require transmission of low amounts of data multiple times a day. They reduce power consumption way beyond the regular power saving features of LTE-M. And again, a longer battery life means greater asset utilization, equating to increased revenues and reduced cost – all while keeping your data perfectly secure.


Giovanni Solito

Giovanni Solito

Senior Product Manager, Product Center Services, u-blox


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