Internet of Things: BMBF-funded SHIQ project launched

More cybersecurity for smart living

Press release /

Home environments are among the areas in which the digital transformation is taking huge strides. Properties kitted out with smart home appliances and tightly networked residential areas are bringing the quality of living spaces into a whole new dimension. At the same time, there are growing security requirements being imposed on both the IoT* systems used in these environments and users’ private spheres. In a project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), entitled “Secure heterogeneous IoT systems in properties and residential areas (SHIQ),” a seven-strong cross-industry consortium made up of research institutions and companies is taking a holistic approach to shaping the smart living environments of tomorrow. By increasing IT security in smart properties and residential areas, over the long term it is setting new standards in secure building control systems and protection for residents’ private spheres in the construction and property sector.

Smart properties and residential areas create a significant improvement in standards of living. In smart residential areas, living spaces are linked to other key areas of life such as work and leisure — resulting in networked ecosystems where residents can use apps to control not only their own homes, but also shared spaces, including office premises that can be rented for a limited time or community gyms. However, this modern approach to networking properties and residential areas also exposes digital security and residents’ private spheres to new risks. Sensors in camera and microphone systems, and data collected by smart home appliances, make it possible to gain insights into users’ living environments. Additionally, digital methods of controlling smart home appliances such as ovens or locking systems create new areas that could be open to the risk of fire or break-ins.


Security throughout the product life cycle…

Confronting these risks requires security to be maintained throughout the entire life cycle of residential IoT systems — something that presents a significant challenge given the length of time buildings are expected to last. The answer lies in adopting a holistic approach that covers everything from development to production and operation. The joint research project being discussed here is examining the individual life cycle phases of smart home appliances, and has also set out to identify security-related dependencies and interfaces within the life cycle. This should make it possible to pinpoint synergies that provide an efficient way of creating security and trust throughout the entire life cycle. As part of its approach, the joint research project is focusing particularly on partly automated security tests of IoT systems during development, on the provision of firmware and secure identities in a protected production environment, and on ensuring that operation remains error-free and trustworthy through secure building infrastructures for security updates and security monitoring.


…and along the entire product supply chain

The joint research project is incorporating the value chains of multiple manufacturers with a range of specializations, and combining insights from practice with solutions drawn from science:

  • Drees & Sommer SE is leading the consortium: a consulting firm specializing in construction and property, it is contributing many years of experience gained from smart living projects and residential area developments. Its focus is on developing scalable digital transformation concepts that are designed to be highly user-friendly while keeping energy and resource consumption as low as possible.
  • BSH Hausgeräte GmbH is aiming to conduct research into development processes, methods and tools that provide efficient support for the secure development of domestic appliances and their production environment.
  • seele GmbH is focusing on research into secure and smart building façades. With its ISOshade® product, the global specialist in façade construction has already paved the way for smart building envelopes. A major focus of the project is on integrating IoT façade components securely, intelligently and flexibly into the technology used in homes and residential areas, making it possible to share sensor data and services across buildings and tap into potential for savings.
  • BMK professional electronics GmbH, a competence center for electronic projects, is responsible for conducting practical analyses of risks and threats in a non-secure production environment, and is helping to define and model secure processes in the development and production of safety-critical assemblies.
  • Ingenics Digital GmbH is investigating the use of methods and tools for securing the software supply chain right up to the point of operation, giving special consideration to multilateral development work, with the aim of enabling trustworthy exchange of digital artifacts and reducing barriers to entry by providing blueprints.
  • The Fraunhofer Institute for Applied and Integrated Security AISEC is coordinating the research being conducted in the project and is contributing a security testing toolkit for partly automating the development of IoT systems.
  • The Institute for Innovative Safety and Security at Augsburg Technical University of Applied Sciences (HSA_innos) is developing concepts for the secure production of networked appliances and evaluating them using practical scenarios.
  • The Faculty of Architecture and Civil Engineering at Augsburg Technical University of Applied Sciences is investigating the secure operation of IT and IoT platforms in smart buildings, and developing low-threshold routes to implementation and use.

The joint research project is building cross-industry momentum for making secure, trustworthy IoT systems available in living environments. It has received 3.5 million euros in funding from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), and will continue until November 2026.


*IoT = Internet of Things