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Bill Stewart Booz Allen

Booz Allen Hamilton
27 June 2015 - by Maxine Bingham, Editor-in-Chief

We had the opportunity of speaking with two executives from Booz Allen Hamilton about enterprise IoT security, Senior Vice President Mark Jacobsohn, and Executive Vice President Bill Stewart. Below is an edited Q&A of our discussion.

IoTP: How do you work with enterprise clients regarding IoT security?
Bill Stewart: Our role in IoT security is similar to an overall cyber security role, it’s advisory to a degree, but, differently from other firms, we take clients from strategy through design and implementation. We integrate systems for clients, build things and advise them how to use systems. Our advice is founded in what it takes to deliver a secure system as is done for the intelligence community. Today, we’re helping clients figure out what the future holds and how security paradigms have to change dramatically. The scale of IoT, in and of itself, and the attack surface, provides so much opportunity for an adversary, that we see the need to shift paradigms. Clients need to embed security from the start versus patching it on, given the integration of IoT. The question is, when does the market allow it, because it does cost more?

IoTP: Do you see any global or vertical market similarities or differences when it comes to IoT security?
Bill Stewart: Yes, the differences have to do with uptake, who is willing to use IoT and who can benefit, as certain sectors aren’t there yet. That said, what tends to happen with newer innovations is that where there’s less infrastructure, you can more easily do things in a different way. It’s all a little fractured right now [when it comes to deploying IoT] we’re in its infancy. We’re seeing the fraying of not having a good security approach, like in automotive.

IoTP: Can you talk more about the automotive industry?
Bill Stewart: Automotive were early adopters of IoT. They are a good parallel with other industries. The car companies needed to pull in IT and IoT to be competitive, that is, it was a competitive race to build a connected car and they didn’t bother with things to slow them down, such as security. They wanted to build things quickly, but wound up with security issues. It’s hard for companies to go back. It’s hard to get people in the early stages of a market opportunity to integrate security; they will do things the quick way versus the right way. But, we’ll get there. You can’t build prototypes without structured processes. Take this same kind of paradigm and apply it to other verticals, you will see the same thing.

IoTP: What about the phenomenon of state-sponsored attacks against corporate IoT?
Mark Jacobsohn: What’s interesting about that is that some of the more sophisticated state sponsored attacks are against embedded systems. It’s kind of known that nation states know how to do this. What’s changing is that there’s much greater opportunity for attackers. Some of the early systems were likely more difficult to breach because they tended to be more customized.

Mark Jacobsohn Booz AllenHowever, with technology innovation, such as standards, which is good since things happen more quickly, that makes it easier for those with malicious intent to exploit. It’s a problem that won’t go away. The adversaries are taking advantage of black markets that have emerged, what that means is that the barriers to entry are lowered for the bad guys. That’s why we have a whole business around helping clients understand these issues.

IoTP: How do you protect against “unknown unknowns” threats?
Mark Jacobsohn: We approach this by putting in security protocols, but how do we know what we don’t know? For example, maybe someone will be able to leverage your thermostat. Just because we can put sensors on things doesn’t mean we understand the ramifications. What threat vectors might someone target? Some systems that were breached were targeted from second or third order levels away

In addition to the technology piece, we don’t know how people could leverage IoT data to piece together information.

IoTP: Have you witnessed major breaches of IoT systems yet?
Bill Stewart: We haven’t had the public hype around IoT systems being exploited [that other system breaches have had]. Probably, some of the reason for that is that when you breach credit cards, people jump on that. There are also requirements to disclose that kind of thing. If a company has a material breach, they have to disclose it.

Boards can’t ignore this stuff. Even though the scale of IoT is enormous, we’re not there yet in terms of publicly hyped breaches. Also, IoT data that are out there today aren’t quite as valuable as credit cards. If I’m an attacker for economic reasons, I can go after credit cards, which are low hanging fruit and can make money very quickly.

We haven’t seen the large economic value in an IoT attack, but it’s inevitable. There are things like hacktivists who are trying to make a point and be in the media to get exposure for their cause or their ego.

IoTP: Are you finding a change in the mindset of enterprises to IoT security?
Bill Stewart: What we’re finding is that the mindset is changing. There are several factors, SEC regulations, board members are concerned because they can be held liable, and managing cyber risk is part of all that. We’re seeing corporations taking IoT security more seriously, but there’s a huge gap from where we need to be.

There’s more heightened awareness, but there are also certain undeniable facts around the economics. If you’re a startup in the IoT space and up against competition or want to get the market to buy into what you’re doing, you won’t spend on security if you can’t sell your products.

IoTP: What is Booz Allen Hamilton doing to increase understanding the need for IoT security?
Bill Stewart: We’re working closely with clients to help them understand the issues, tradeoffs, risk managements, economics, and down stream potential liabilities. We [evangelize] on an individual basis, publish and go to conferences.

Mark Jacobsohn: RSA was a good example. Bill and others in commercial and predictive intelligence supported that conference with papers and interviews [like this one]. 

From a broader Booz Allen IoT perspective, all elements play a role starting with the sensor piece. A major digital thrust in IoT is to provide a great user experience and get value from the data; then you need to secure it. Security has to be integrated and integral from the start. Then you can apply data science and derive value from the data, whether its from the commercial side, government or military.

Look at IoT holistically. We help our clients make IoT real, less scary and more valuable.

Right behind security, is, how do I monetize IoT? How can I get some return on this investment? People are struggling on how to apply IoT and make it real. We focus on use cases, developing solutions with some of our partners and take that right to the clients.

IoTP: Tell us more about monetizing IoT.
Mark Jacobsohn: Where we really see value in the IoT is around healthcare. IoT can revolutionize the doctor/patient relationship.

For example, in remote healthcare. It would be great if a device knew which patient was in a room, called up their information and sent the data back to the cloud automatically so that the patient knows their data is safe.

You can improve the use of tablets in healthcare. Today, to fit security requirements you have to take a tablet apart and remove a camera, or microphone, for example. But, if you can embed security, there’s lots you can do with that, and that holds a lot of promise. Having to tear an IoT device apart to make it less capable shows we’re in the infancy of the IoT.

Another example is to put devices on the body of a first responder to keep track of air quality, heat, vital signs, where they are in a building, whether they’re under stress or need additional support or supplies. The military can learn how a soldier or airman is performing – predictive modeling down the road – taking some of the sensors from a fitness standpoint and use that for people in harm’s way, making them as safe as possible.

These are the sort of use cases Booz Allen is focused on, as well as oil & gas, smart grids, supply chains for pharmaceuticals. The key is to get the cyber security folks in there sooner.

IoTP: Is Booz Allen Hamilton transforming its business through IoT?
Mark Jacobsohn:  For Booz Allen, we’re looking at developing software we can embed and do location-aware analysis and monetize that. IoT is a great way of helping our clients be more efficient. Automotive, healthcare, for example, hospitals and government agencies can speed patient care and change the overall understanding of the hospital, reducing cost and improving efficiencies.

In the area of wellness, Booz Allen has a major wellness effort for our staff with prizes for activity and weight loss. We’re exploring how we can employ IoT for our organization.

Bill Stewart: The connected car is one of the early examples of how IoT has created a whole new future. It’s almost a standard feature now. Automotive providers are thinking of themselves as a platform, like your iPhone is a platform to do many, many different things. They are changing their business model, shedding parts of their business and focusing on add-on opportunities.

We’re helping clients not just around the technology but also around the business and how to consider both at the same time. What’s the business rationale for IoT? Then what’s the risk side of the equation – how to make a profit?

IoTP: Is there a question we should have asked?
Mark Jacobsohn: Well, I don’t know about that, but, one question we often get is, regarding our company, how does a technology consulting firm deploy IoT for clients? We use our alliance partners, we don’t build server racks or software or hardware, although we do build things and have software developers, but we’re not Cisco or Intel.

The last few years we’ve worked hard to partner with companies such as Microsoft, Amazon, RedHat, Intel, etc. We leverage these partnerships – we understand the clients and their systems, but building integrated solutions requires alliances. Bill has worked with a variety of companies on the cyber side.

Bill Stewart: That’s a great point. The IoT is creating even more cooperation and bringing that to the next level. We’re seeing different market forces, we’re in the early days of the IoT. Think back to the whole dynamic between Apple and the IBM PC. IBM opened up its OS, but then became commoditized and got out of the PC business. Those twists and turns are happening with the IoT.

Photo of Bill Stewart and Mark Jacobsohn (in body of the copy) courtesy of Booz Allen

© 2015 IoT Perspectives

Kip Compton Cisco

Cisco Systems
9 June 2015 - by Maxine Bingham, Editor-in-Chief

We had the opportunity of speaking with Kip Compton, Cisco’s VP, Internet of Things, Systems & Software, about Cisco's Internet of Everything (IoE) vision. Our edited Q&A follows.

IoTP:  What is the definition of Cisco’s Internet of Everything (IoE)?
KC: It’s all about connecting things – 50B devices by 2020. But, just connecting things isn’t the whole story. To get value there has to be transformative impact. How do you get and process the data from these billions of devices, how do you integrate with business processes? The “things” are like the spark that makes the Internet of Everything (IoE) possible.

IoTP:  How does IoE differ from IoT?
KC: The IoT is a subset of IoE, IoT is an enabler, it’s what makes the IoE happen.

IoTP:  What is Cisco's technology vision for IoE?
KC: It’s actually quite broad, ranging from connecting things in our IoT portfolio that I run, plus analytics (launched last December) to  a new collaboration tool, Cisco Spark, a web-based mobile app-type collaboration platform.

We have a very partner centric model, driven even more so, when in a lot of cases we're talking about specific verticals such as manufacturing, transportation, oil and gas, or utilities. We have a lot of partnerships in particular areas, they take our networking or collaboration or analytics platforms for business opportunities in those verticals.

IoTP:  What is Cisco's business vision for IoE?
KC: We see this as enabling completely new business outcomes, going beyond the IT department. It’s a very different business discussion; it’s a more solutions-based discussion. We’re selling to the line of business versus the IT department. We’re not talking about upgrading the network or features of the latest switch; it’s about being more core to the opportunities of the customer. For example with manufacturing, how to automate their factory floor and make it 10% (for example) more efficient.

The vision is to bring customers solutions that impact their business, whether it’s being more efficient, providing more opportunities from a revenue perspective or making things safer, such as video analytics in a factory. How do we build out outcomes, not just as a technical partner but also as business partners?

IoTP: Is Cisco experiencing new revenue streams from its IoE solutions?
KC:  Cisco is a world-class product company. We also have an amazing services business. We may bundle and package services and products together. From the customer’s perspective, “I’m going to invest this much and get this outcome as a result.”

IoTP: Do you see any differences globally for your IoE business?
KC: We see it more by industry than by country. For example as currencies change we’ve seen a lot of global companies investing in manufacturing where the currencies are weaker. Regulation is a major factor internationally, especially in utilities and oil and gas.

Economics changes things, as oil and gas prices have gone down, they are thinking about investment downstream versus exploration. They view IoE as an investment in the business to get their outcomes.

We’re seeing tremendous growth in IoT adoption worldwide. It’s on the base of a rising tide. As communications and computing gets less expensive, the ability to leverage IoT data continues to improve.

We are seeing some killer application effects. In the US, the government has put in requirements for “positive train control.” There are requirements to upgrade security in the utility space. There are requirements for cars to be connected to a network.

For trains, they have to have a network connection so that they can be remotely controlled in case the engineer is incapacitated. One big safety problem is a derailment, which is often caused when ball bearings and the train wheel jam up. Thus railroads replace the ball bearings early to ensure they don’t have a failure. With IoT can put in temperature sensors and can replace the ball bearings more intelligently, which is both safer and less expensive. Plus, with IoT they can add passenger WiFi.

The dynamics for customers are being able to greatly reduce costs, so that they can do other things. These are the global dynamics we’re seeing.

IoTP: What about security?
KC: We have  strong security capabilities into the IoT/IoE space. There is intrusion detection, including for SDN (software-defined networking) and a bunch of security features in our switches and routers. We have ruggedized our IoT networking for trains or factories; for example, we’re able to project our security technology over the long-term.

IoTP: You have grant challenges for new ventures, and a Cisco Entrepreneurs in Residence (EiR) program. How can startups reach out to Cisco? What advice would you give an interested startup?
KC: Cisco has an IoT investment team, see We have huge venture investments in startups, 20 companies so far. In 2014, we were one of the top IoT investors, including among VCs. We’re very engaged [with new ventures].

We also have IoE Innovation Centers in Barcelona, Tokyo, Toronto and Rio. These are innovation centers where there are personnel and equipment to help prototype, integrate, or do things together, because the world has a bigger imagination that we do.

The EIR program is not like a VC. We have EIRs who are CEOs of early stage startups. We bring them into customer situations, introduce to Cisco groups and Cisco execs and mentors.

We will also hold an Innovation Grand Challenge at the Cisco 2015 Internet of Things World Forum in Dubai.

I view our investing and mentoring as a critical part of our market sensing. It’s a critical way for us to get ideas.

IoTP:  How does what Cisco is doing re the IoT/IoE compare with IBM’s and HP's initiatives?
KC: In the frame of IoE, it’s hard to identify competitors. In fact, we collaborate with IBM quite a bit. There are different categories of competitors, such as with point products. On the analytics side, for example, Microsoft is a huge partner in the data center and a huge competitor in the collaboration space.

IoTP:  What standards bodies does Cisco support? Which ones were founded or co-founded by Cisco?
KC: Cisco did early IETF work for the Internet to be based on standards. We’re concerned about the number of standards, but, it’s still early, we’re in the first inning. We’re trying to participate in a lot of different forums with an eye toward nudging them together. We want to build products for emerging standards – and help broker industry level agreement.

So far, though, today’s solutions are somewhat proprietary. But there’s lot of standards a continuum between fully proprietary and fully standards-based. And, some areas where there’s a great solution doesn’t come from a standards committee.

IoTP: Is there a concept you’d like to add to our discussion about Cisco’s IoT?
KC: Yes, what comes out a lot when I talk to people is, is Cisco doing consumer IoT? No, we’re really focused on industrial and enterprise IoT.

IoTP: Thanks for speaking with us.
KC: It’s been a pleasure.

Photo of Kip Compton courtesy of Cisco
© 2015 IoT Perspectives

Dave Miller Covisnt

23 July 2015 - by Maxine Bingham, Editor-in-Chief


Covisint’s Chief Security Officer and co-founder Dave Miller spent time with IoT Perspectives to discuss his visionary insights about the IoT, including the need for heterogeneous products to work seamlessly together, which isn’t the case today. Covisint has a new platform for this need along with authentication.

Beginning in the auto business, where its founders started, Covisint connected (and still does) OEMs to its suppliers, i.e., logistics and inventory management. Dave himself came from GM (General Motors). Since its de-acquisition from Compuware (a technology company in Detroit) in 2004, Covisint has focused its efforts on providing a single platform where suppliers can go for authentication. The company’s platform is used by auto and oil and gas OEMs, as well as by healthcare users.

Today, Covisint has 500,000 users and 100,000 companies for which it provides authentication. For example, according to Dave, Covisint runs two or three of the world’s largest healthcare networks, enabling physicians to get data in a secure way.

Regarding the auto industry, vehicles have now become their own identity, and thus need authentication. Automakers also want to reach out to owners for differentiation and increased customer loyalty. Covisint, perhaps not many know, is the technology that is known as GM’s OnStar, as well as Hyundai’s Blue Link.

Covisint sees the vehicle as a “thing,” which needs to authenticate and provision itself. The next step is to connect one’s car to one’s thermostat, for example, which can respond as you arrive home, or, can even anticipate your heating or cooling needs as you head home from the office, as the system will know your behavioral patterns. All these things from different manufacturers will have to work together – thus, Covisint is moving toward providing a platform for the heterogeneous IoT.

For this need to connect disparate devices, Dave used the analogy of walled gardens that exist with smartphones.

“My wife has an Apple iPhone, I have an Android phone and just got a new Amazon Echo,” said Dave Miller.  “The Echo works great for streaming Amazon Prime, but not for Google Play. On the other hand, my Android phone is great for Google Play, but doesn’t work with the new iOS stuff!”

Dave continued, “We’re already seeing these things and it’s worse in automotive. OEMs have their own operating system and strategies. What we see is going to happen in the future is that there will be a lot of these walled gardens, and either I’m happy with my Apple phones, and stereo, etc., or, if I have systems like protocol conversions, I will talk to your Apple walled garden and translate it into my Android walled garden.”

Dave notes that this problem is only just now really coming up. He explained, “Previously you saw hardware manufacturers who in general were either agnostic about their applications or choose to go a proprietary way. Look at Apple, it’s a hardware company and is not in the business of selling your information, it sells things. In that model, it has its app store and doesn’t care about interacting with other systems. Google was agnostic running on lots of platforms, saying in effect, ‘we’re not hardware, we’re an ecosystem to run on everyone’s hardware.’ Now, the Apple ecosystem and Google are becoming more and more of a hardware platform, and now iTunes music can’t go over Google Play. We’re seeing a time that picking your ecosystem is a big deal. And, that’s only two systems!”

In fact, what we know is that in a connected home, for example, there are easily eight or nine walled gardens today. “What’s going to happen,” Dave asked, “when we have safety and security, my car, my lights, streaming music around my house and having purchased these things based on best price, or branding?”

According to Dave, this situation will continue to be an issue since manufacturers always want to lock customers in. “Even if you’ve just gone through the process of buying a new phone, you have to re-download all the apps, and it takes the first month just to get the phone back to where you had it!”

What happens when new devices are brought in? Dave asks, “How do I provision it, do I go through a panel like a sprinkler system? What we envision is a central hub in the cloud, that a device identifies itself through the central hub and users can easily incorporate new things into their home, car or office.”

Announced in June 2015, Covisint’s next-generation Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) was designed to empower developers with complete, self-service capabilities and accelerators to develop, deliver and manage the lifecycle of IoT, IdM and B2B collaboration solutions on the Covisint platform.

A key component of the Covisint PaaS, the Covisint Developer Portal, allows a developer to create a complete development environment in minutes, whenever they want, says the company. And, unlike other cloud platforms that require proprietary tools or languages, this release introduces a comprehensive set of RESTful APIs to expose the core functional capabilities of the platform, enabling rapid solution development while empowering developers to build their applications using their preferred languages and protocols.

The Covisint platform has also been architected to support two key requirements of IoT solutions: performance and scale. The platform enables users to securely identify, authenticate and connect users, devices, applications and information, and has been successfully operating globally at enterprise scale for over 12 years.

Covisint sees the connected vehicle as being a major push for the company. It’s working on adding additional major partnerships to its portfolio that already includes the likes

of GM and Hyundai. One partnership is with Cisco, which is providing the networking delivery mechanism for the Covisint platform.

Just as Dave told analysts years ago, that single authentication would be needed, versus multiple logins and passwords (and wasn’t believed, he said), so, he predicts, OEMs and users will need a simple way to manage IoT devices and services from multiple vendors. And, he’s right. In fact, it’s already becoming more and more of an issue for consumers and enterprises. As Dave said, “There are going to be 1,000 connected things in your life, and in 10 years everything you buy will be paired to the Internet.”

He noted that buildings are now becoming a “thing.” Think of multiple HVAC units – how will they work together? According to Dave, an organization such as Covisint will easily allow devices from multiple vendors to plug in and be managed remotely.

Dave acknowledges that the Covisint PaaS in the area of multiple device and standards compatibility is at the beginning of the IoT heterogeneous device and standards wave. “We’re the guy on the surfboard and the wave is coming,” said Dave.

The Covisint platform is based on a hub architecture. It enables exponential scale that is needed for the billions of IoT devices in our future. Because a hub is a single point of contact, it can identify transactions within the hub that don’t make sense. The hub can act as a super-security watcher, able to shut devices down if things don’t make sense. According to Dave, this reduces the ability – unlike a mesh network – of an evildoer from infecting the system via one of the devices in the network. For example, the hub will know that a device doesn’t need to speak with the refrigerator, so it won’t allow it.

One question we had is that with a hub configuration, is whether there is a latency hit. According to Dave, Covisint has engineered a handoff concept to address this. For example, the hub creates a well-formed secure token and sends it back to the security system that can talk to the lights. That token can have a lifetime, such as a single use or a week, etc.  If a token is good for a week (such as turning on lights), the system doesn’t have to ask the hub again for another week, so latency would be acceptable for that week. However, an app to unlock one’s car would need to receive a token every time.

Dave believes that this approach is superior, since a device may not need to go to the Internet every time, and thus latency would not be noticeable by the user, or as Dave remarks, would be beneath the limit of what a customer cares about. We still have questions about this architecture for latency-critical applications, however.

Covisint went public two years ago; its revenues are around $100M. It has a large installed base, almost all B2B. Today, Covisint supports more than $4 billion in ecommerce transactions annually.

We feel that Covisint’s approach, and Dave’s insights, address some of the most critical issues that need addressing in order for the IoT to massively scale — simply, safely and securely.

Photo of Dave Miller courtesy of Covisint

© 2015 IoT Perspectives

Mike Tinskey Ford

Ford: MyEnergi Lifestyle
20 May 2015 - by Maxine Bingham, Editor-in-Chief
[Last sentence updated 28 May 2015]


It was with some surprise that we learned during CONNECTIONS that Ford Motor Company has entered the home automation space with MyEnergi Lifestyle. Director, Global Vehicle Electrification and Infrastructure Mike Tinskey gave IoT Perspectives a comprehensive overview of this new industry collaboration to help people optimize home energy use.

Mike leads the company’s sustainability activities for electric vehicles, energy and infrastructure. His focus is to develop and implement new products, business models, and partnerships to ensure success of Ford’s sustainability plans globally, including success of Ford plug-in and alternative fuel vehicles. Prior to this role, he led the Product Planning and Program Management activities globally for hybrid electric vehicles and was responsible for developing and implementing Ford's electrification strategy that was announced in January 2009. Mike holds multiple global patents in vehicle control systems.

IoTP: Please describe Ford’s new home automation energy savings solution. 

MT: MyEnergi Lifestyle is a Ford-led collaboration with Nest, Eaton, SunPower, Whirlpool and Infineon, designed to help consumers optimize energy use and reduce CO2 emissions in a home setting. Through this initiative, Ford brought together leaders in home appliances, renewable energy and power management industries, with the goal of helping consumers easily switch a bulk of their energy use to off-peak hours through cloud-based automation, vastly decreasing energy costs and the stress on the grid in the process. 

IoTP: Is MyEnergi Lifestyle new for Ford? When was it introduced?  

MT: MyEnergi Lifestyle was originally introduced in 2013, and we released MyEnergi Lifestyle 2.0 in January 2014. MyEnergi Lifestyle 2.0 builds on the first iteration of this program by introducing the ability to store energy within the home after it is captured by solar panels, increasing savings even further.

IoTP: What is the cost?

MT: As MyEnergi Lifestyle represents a collaboration of multiple companies, there is no set cost for implementing the energy-saving devices around the home, as it depends on which appliances a customer chooses to install. However, the cost savings are more easily quantifiable, and the MyEnergi Lifestyle model predicts a 60 percent savings in monthly energy bills, and 55 percent savings in CO2 emissions - with MyEnergi Lifestyle 2.0 storage, our models show a further increase in savings by 30 percent. This model was developed by the Georgia Institute of Technology.

To give you an example of an itemized breakdown of savings, the Berry family, one of our initial MyEnergi Lifestyle users, reaped the following savings:

  • More than $1,200 saved in annual fuel costs with the Ford C-MAX Energi
  • Expect to save more than $300 annually from new solar panel system; the system offsets more than 70 percent of the energy used in their home
  • More than 25 percent reduction in energy costs and CO2 by installing a new energy-efficient Whirlpool refrigerator 

IoTP: Will Ford be the distributor? If not, how can one acquire it? 

MT: Ford is the owner of the nationwide database of time-of use rates that allow the independent cloud systems to operate. For example, the Whirlpool appliances can leverage this database to begin making ice or washing the dishes once rates drop to off-peak.

Ford dealers distribute our electrified vehicles, and the rest of the affiliated appliances can be purchased directly from our MyEnergi Lifestyle partners. 

IoTP: Why is Ford getting into the home automation market? 

MT: For years, we've been proactively exploring how to work with utilities to provide incentives for EV drivers to charge during off-peak hours, to help balance out the grid. These explorations led us to develop the time-of-use database. Once we did, we realized there were plenty of applications beyond the automotive industry alone, and we began looking for partners to launch a broader program focused on smart energy consumption. Through MyEnergi Lifestyle, we have come to believe that we need to move beyond putting more cars on the road to participate in the broader connectivity ecosystem, which increasingly involves home automation. 

IoTP: Will this connect one's car with the home (i.e., open the garage, turn on lights, turn off alarm, etc.)?  

MT: MyEnergi Lifestyle essentially allows all smart appliances (washer, refrigerator, electric vehicles, solar panels, dishwasher, etc.) to connect to their utility's TOU rate structure. The beauty of this system is that you don't need to own every part of it to make it work. Each appliance connects to its own cloud.

More specifically, our collaboration with Nest is a useful case study for this type of connectivity. We're working with the Nest API to create a more seamless connection between the car and the home. For example, when a driver leaves a geo-fenced area around the home, his or her vehicle can provide the Nest Thermostat with another node of information to switch to Auto-Away mode. Similarly, when a user returns, the vehicle notifies the thermostat to set the preferred at-home temperature. The result is smarter, more automated energy and less unnecessary waste. Our collaboration with Nest can also help users monitor the safety of their homes remotely. For example, if carbon monoxide or smoke detector is set off, Nest Protect can send an alert to Ford’s in-vehicle SYNC system, prompting drivers to dial 9-1-1 or call a loved one - without ever needing to touch their cell phone.

IoTP: Is this a first in the industry?  

MT: Yes, this sort of cross-industry collaboration is a first. There are other auto manufacturer and solar panel company partnerships, but MyEnergi Lifestyle is the broadest and most inclusive program of its kind.

IoTP: Is MyEnergi Lifestyle an open system? Can developers develop apps for it? If yes, is there a link to a developer application/community page?  

MT: We are currently just working with a smaller group of partners to integrate their home and vehicle technologies, but that doesn't mean there won't be opportunities for other manufactures or developers to join in down the line.

IoTP: How would these apps (assuming there are apps) be available? Would Ford take a percentage?  

MT: The apps that leverage the MyEnergi Lifestyle database are offered by each manufacturer separately. For example, Ford offers the MyFord Mobile app, which allows customers to sync their EV charging with their TOU rate, while SunPower offers a solar app and Whirlpool offers an app to sync smart appliances. All of these apps use Ford's database, but Ford does not take a percentage, in fact, all of these apps are free to download. 

IoTP: What new services is MyEnergi Lifestyle enabling for Ford?  

MT: For our direct customers, MyEnergi Lifestyle enables Ford to provide a value-added service by providing EV drivers with the information and tools they need to charge their cars during off-peak hours. More broadly, MyEnergi Lifestyle is enabling Ford to become a leader in promoting holistic energy savings.

IoTP: Does MyEnergi Lifestyle use WiFi, Bluetooth, Zigbee or even SIGFOX as the communication protocol?  

MT: MyEnergi Lifestyle mainly leverages a home's WiFi to connect to its devices and begin the specified process at the time requested, for example, starting the dishwasher). 

IoTP: What is the long-term vision for MyEnergi Lifestyle?

MT: Our long-term vision for MyEnergi Lifestyle is to drive more homeowners to become more energy efficient by adopting EVs, generating their own renewable energy and leveraging connected devices. As EV purchases continue to increase in the coming years, programs such as MyEnergi Lifestyle will help people achieve zero energy homes and even zero energy cars, charged with solar power.

With Ford backing this kind of home energy savings solution, it’s just a matter of time, we think, until all our homes and apartments come with such services automatically, whether from Ford and its partners or other companies.

Photo of Mike Tinskey courtesy of Ford

© 2015 IoT Perspectives

Michelle Moody Ford

Ford Motor Company
4 March 2015 - by Maxine Bingham, Editor-in-Chief


We had an illuminating conversation with Michelle Moody, Connected Vehicle Marketing Manager at Ford Motor Company about Ford’s connected car achievements and vision. It revolves round its SYNC connectivity system, which was co-developed by Ford and Microsoft based on the recognition that consumer electronics evolve much more rapidly than vehicles. The connectivity system was architected to work with the mobile devices that drivers use every day, while providing an upgrade path that can bring new capabilities into the vehicle.

Since debuting in 2007 on the Focus, Ford has added numerous features to SYNC including AppLink (first launched in 2010), 911 Assist, Vehicle Health Report and SYNC Services, a cloud-based service network featuring traffic reports, turn-by-turn directions, business search, news, sports scores and movie listings.

SYNC AppLink provides industry-leading voice command and control of mobile apps including popular services like Pandora personalized radio, Stitcher smart radio, NPR News, iHeartRadio digital radio and Scout personal navigation.

Ford announced the launch of the Ford Developer Program ( at the 2013 International CES show. Utilizing the SYNC connectivity system and AppLink application programming interface (API), Ford became the first automaker in the world to launch an open developer program that enables software developers to directly interface with the vehicle and create apps that will enhance the driving experience.

The announcement at CES quoted Hau Thai-Tang, vice president of Engineering, Ford Global Product Development, “The Ford Developer Program marks a dramatic shift in how we will innovate new features and add value to our vehicles throughout the ownership period. Opening the car to developers gives consumers a direct voice and hand in the creation of apps that can help our products remain relevant, up to date and valuable to our customers.”

Thai-Tang added, “The car presents an all-new opportunity for developers…Engaging innovators outside of the company is a key part of our strategy to be consumer-driven in all aspects of our business, helping us not only satisfy what’s going on today, but setting us up for innovative solutions to the challenges coming in the future.”

We discussed SYNC, the Ford Development program and other connected car matters with Ford.

IoTP: What is your background?
MM: I grew up in Colorado and started in the Ford field sales office in Denver after graduate school. I have a Bachelor of Science in Finance from Colorado State University and a Master of Science in Marketing from the University of Colorado Denver. I have worked in marketing at Ford since 1998 and now work at the Ford headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan.

IoTP: What is Ford offering now in terms of connected car?
MM: Today we offer SYNC, a connected infotainment system that enables drivers to connect their mobile devices to their vehicle. It includes hands free calling, streaming, playing music and the ability to use voice commands while driving. It’s all about safety - eyes on the road, hands on the wheel. That’s very, very important.

For several years we have had connectivity to additional services on our electric vehicles where it’s very important to know the state of charge, and whether you have enough electricity to get where you need to go, as well as scheduling charging at off peak hours and rates. There’s even a mobile app to schedule charging overnight.

Ford also has a fleet telematics offering fleet managers the ability to monitor the location of fleet vehicles, provide centralized routing and understand how their employees are driving in order to optimize fuel economy. This is another place where the IoT adds a real business value and driving efficiency.

IoTP: Is Ford working on an autonomous car?
MM: Our president and CEO, Mark Fields, has talked about how we see autonomy being a progression over time. We offer driver assist and semi-autonomous technologies on our vehicles today. These technologies, which are the building blocks for autonomy, add value to the driving experience, such as Ford’s adaptive cruise control for maintaining a safe distance between you and the car in front of you as well as hands-free, parallel parking on the Ford Escape.

It takes quite a lot of technology and mapping, as well as regulations to bring autonomous driving to life. There is clearly more work to do as government, society and innovators work together to develop new rules of the road. 

IoTP: Tell us about Ford’s Silicon Valley Innovation Center.
MM: Ford has had a Silicon Valley presence for a number of years, however, in January we opened a new Silicon Valley lab, the Research and Innovation Center Palo Alto, with a much larger footprint and much larger scope and vision than
Ford Palo Alto Screen Shot what we had before. The new lab will grow Ford’s global research team and accelerate the company’s innovation in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, customer experience and big data. Ford expects to have one of the largest automotive manufacturer research centers in Silicon Valley by the end of the year, with 125 researchers, engineers and scientists.


Ford Innovation Center

IoTP: Does Ford partner with 3rd parties for connected car innovations?
MM: I think SYNC is a great example of how we have partnered with other companies to create the infotainment system and continually enhance it. For example, we work with Nuance that is specific to voice recognition and other leading companies to bring technology to the vehicle.

We take an open approach to 3rd party app development. We have SYNC AppLink, where drivers can access their smartphone apps via voice control. Through the AppLink platform, we make it available to any app developer through the Ford Developer program, where the developer can register and add our code to their app to be used in the car hands-free. We ensure the app is a safe one for driving. [Developers can go to for access to Ford’s Developer Program.]

We have a very open platform and encourage a wide range of development and innovation in contrast to other OEMs that have a closed system.

IoTP: How does the app development process work?
MM: First a developer who wants to enable their app for AppLink would come to us through the Ford Developer Program site to register and download the software development kit (SDK) to incorporate the AppLink code into the app, it will then be submitted for approval and after we approve it, it can be used in our cars and will be submitted to the relevant app marketplace – we think that is very forward looking.

IoTP: Does Ford take part of the revenue?
MM: No, Ford doesn’t take part of the revenue. We’re more interested in offering consumer choice, and ensuring it can be used safely in their vehicle.  

IoTP: Do you use that information about 3rd party apps for future innovation?
MM: It’s not part of the process or the thinking today – it’s certainly possible. What we want to do is enable people to innovate and bring great experiences to the car.

IoTP: What’s your global strategy for the connected cars?
MM: We think of SYNC as a global product. We’ve been in China for 3-5 years, as well as Brazil and we’re rolling out in Europe right now.

IoTP: What’s Ford’s long-term vision for connected car?
MM: Mark Fields shared the company’s vision at CES [2015] when he talked about Ford Smart Mobility. We do see just based upon important trends around population growth people are consolidating and moving closer to urban areas and there is a phenomenal growth of mega cities, which begs for new thinking about mobility and how people will get around in the future. Ford is experimenting around car sharing, parking and other things to reduce congestion around major cities to understand what kind of ownership models might make sense in the future.

IoTP: Is Ford gaining new revenue streams from connected car services?
MM: Today we do have a product for traffic directions and information that consumers get one year for free and then can subscribe each year which allows them to do voice for point of interest (POI) searches. We’ve been in that space for about five years, and see navigation as a bigger concept, such as helping drivers to find places and assist them when traffic is heavy to potentially re-route.

IoTP: Thanks for speaking with us – did we miss anything?
MM: My pleasure meeting you, I think we covered a lot!


Photos of Michelle Moody and Innovation Center Courtesy of Ford Motor Company
© IoT Perspectives 2015