skip to content

Centre for Digital Built Britain completed its five-year mission and closed its doors at the end of September 2022

This website remains as a legacy of the achievements of our five-year foundational journey towards a digital built Britain

This project initiated some baseline data gathering and primary analysis of the ways in which off-the-shelf IOT sensors are going to generate and distribute data, the services they will invoke, and the infrastructure dependencies that will thus be taken by deployment and use of such sensors and their supporting services.

To realise Digital Built Britain (DBB) will require creation and use of many sources of digital data, particularly to achieve BIM levels 3 and  4. Many current claims suggest that many of these sources will arise from deployment of off-the-shelf Internet-of-Things (IoT) sensors in buildings and infrastructure at scale. In this study we take an early look at some baseline data gathered from a set of such sensors.

We perform some simple analyses to explore the types and rates of data these sensors will generate and distribute, the supporting services they will invoke, and the resulting infrastructure dependencies they imply for DBB. We consider a wide range of sensors from environmental sensors (e.g., temperature, CO2) to some more obviously sensitive sensors (e.g., video cameras).

While more detailed analysis clearly needs to be done, on an on-going basis across a much wider range of devices, we observe a number of issues:

  • little use is made of "standard" IoT protocols, with most traffic observed to use the sencrypted HTTPS web protocol and all devices making use of standard Internet control protocols (eg., ICMP, DHCP, DNS), both periodically and aperiodically;
  • device updates appear to take place during the early hours of the morning, relying on network connectivity around 0300-0430, currently a "quiet time" for most ISPs and one during which some proportion of households may still turn off their home broadband;
  • even in this small sample, some devices exhibit quite pathological behaviour;
  • and most exhibited dependencies on services run by other companies in other countries, indicating that there is a complex "digital supply chain" in play.


Computer Science & Technology

Computer Science & Technology

Computer Science & Technology