April 20, 2021

FIDO Device Onboard: A Specification for Automated, Secure IoT Provisioning Technology

In the world of IoT, the first thing referenced is often the size of the market opportunity. Numbers in billions are often presented in terms of volume of units. IDC expects the IoT market to maintain a double-digit annual growth rate and surpass the $1 trillion mark in 2022. Talked about less is what it will take for the opportunity of IoT to be realized. At the heart of this are costs and complexities of ‘onboarding’ IoT devices in industrial, enterprise or consumer applications. IoT device onboarding involves the installation of the physical device and the setup of credentials so that it can securely communicate with its target cloud or platform. 

Today, this onboarding process is usually done manually by a technician – a process that is slow, expensive, and insecure. Industry sources have said that it is not uncommon for the cost of installation and setup to exceed the cost of the device itself. Although multiple companies have worked to automate the onboarding process, there wasn’t a widely accepted industry standard. Also, many proprietary solutions that do exist require that the end customer be known at the time of the device manufacture so that the device can be pre-configured. This creates friction and cost in the supply chain. 

The FIDO Alliance stepped up in the summer of 2019 to address this industry challenge. With its broad membership of leading cloud service providers, semiconductor companies and security companies, the Alliance is well positioned to bring together those that create and supply the technologies in the IoT ecosystem. The FIDO Alliance formed its IoT Technical Working Group (IoT TWG) with these stakeholders to define a new standard for automated, secure IoT onboarding. Less than 2 years after the working group formed, the FIDO Alliance is now releasing to the industry the FIDO Device Onboarding (FDO) specification.

Read the paper for a full introduction to FDO.

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