IoT benefits, challenges, and opportunities: CES 2017

By | 8 minute read | January 6, 2017

IoT benefits, challenges, and opportunities

We may be at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2017), but when it comes to IoT there are serious opportunities (and issues) for big business and government. We listened in to the IoT benefits, challenges, and opportunities panel discussion…

The importance of IoT

Q: Why is the Internet of Things (IoT) important, why is it getting so much focus?

Alan Davidson, Director of Digital Economy and Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Commerce, US Department of Commerce: It’s a combination of things. What has captivated from the policy makers side is opportunity and impact, it’s the scale. We’ve got 3.5 billion people, and many more connected devices. It can support products and change the supply chain, and industry. It’s the connection to the physical and connetic world, and that combination is going to have a big impact. There is a huge opportunity if we get it right, but we can get it wrong.

Bridget Karlin, Managing Director, Intel: I am excited about IoT, it’s a truly revolutional era of tech. A moment to converge with the physical and digital world. The transformative experience is to connect everyday objects, get data, and analyse.

From a global perspective (and policy viewpoint) we need to think about sharing data. What we as the US do policy wise. We don’t want to disadvantage ourselves, we want to benefit from the advantages of being in a connected world

We’ve seen this week at CES so many new experiences, 5G, AI, integrated devices as extensions of ourselves. As we go forward we think the focus in 2017 will shift from connecting and data, to getting data and using cognitive analytics to provide predictions. And we want policy to make sure we are enabling these opportunities.

Daniel Castro, Vice President, ITIF: There are over 3.4 billion people online, and big data, social and search have given us knew insights. But with 20 – 30 billion devices online soon all that data is an opportunity. Virtually every industry will benefit from this treasure trove of data. But from a policy stand point, economic and social benefits won’t reach potential without government support and intervention.

We need to think about national strategy and market failures. How do you address equality so tech can be used by everyone? There needs to be no digital divides despite abilities.

Jeff Brueggeman, VP Global Public Policy and Deputy Chief Privacy Officer, AT&T: The challenge to service providers is scale, devices are a major scaling issue for networks, the diversity of applications, there’s drones, there’s sensor, healthcare, low latency, high performance. It’s a dizzying array of services that we need to deliver and support on the network.

CES 2017 benefits, challenges, opportunities of IoT panel discussion

How will IoT transform other industries?

Q: How much will the Internet of Things transform other industries? How do we take siloed industries and have an approach to this type of innovation? How do we combine them all, energy, cities, transport? And how will policy and regulation impact the possibilities?

Sebastian Soriano, Chairman, ARCEP: IoT is changing the scale and range of data, we can go into big data and huge data, almost full data, it’s a game changer. For example, with Artificial Intelligence (AI)if we want to get efficient bots and AI we need tons of data to train the algorithm. IoT will be the key enabler of all other digital innovations. Markets should not be able to self-regulate, our challenge in this new revolution is to invent a pro innovation regulation – and it’s not an oxymoron!

IoT and society

John Godfrey, SVP Public Policy, Samsung Electronics America: The perception for some with IoT is it will make your coffee pot turn on, but hackers can use it against you – It’s such an imbalanced picture. There’s a lot more to IoT than that. Before we turn to security, what are the benefits of IoT for societal priorities?

Sebastian: I think people in those industries are best placed to answer this question, but in Europe I can say we do pretty well with telecom opportunities, but are lagging behind in other areas. The question is how do we take the opportunities of IoT to come back here, to create EU tech giants. We love US and Asia tech giants, Europe has the opportunity to be back!

Jeff: There are a few announcements that AT&T have made recently that help answer this question… A vehicle to vehicle sensor partnership to improve safety. This helps visually impaired people get Onstar assistance via a pair of glasses. Or our new smart cities partnership with Miami which is a great opportunity to improve citizen safety.

Daniel: IoT has huge impacts on health and safety. The ability to monitor health in real-time leads to a big change in approach to healthcare. The process of drug innovation and other health interventions can be better with real-time monitoring; it could be a restructure to the FDA. Shortening time to test drugs and bring them to market faster.

Then there’s the opportunities for building more inclusive communities, helping aging populations stay at home longer, imagine a smart home of the future, you could simply say I have fallen over, get help, and help would come.

Bridget: IoT will help solve big global problems, for example being able to get better agricultural yields. Think sensors in rice paddies, telling you when to irrigate. Using drones to spray just the infected areas rather than the whole crop. These are very real benefits that will help on a global scale, feeding thousands of people.

There are also many industrial examples. Amazon did a great job changing the retail experience, removing checkout lines. Using AI, inventory, payment processes together to create seamless experiences. Tech is best when it works together.

Alan: The biggest economic impact is industrial IoT and the creation of economic value and savings via supply chain technology. Products are monitored, machinery is modern and monitored and therefore doesn’t break. The ability to anticipate problems with machinery will have a tremendous economic impact.

The other is the human side, empowering people to do things they have never done before. A colleague of mine has a son with physical challenges, and never thought he would be able to drive. For him to have that freedom is huge. IoT can empower the elderly and disabled by giving them freedom of movement.

Bridget: I am excited about autonomous vehicles. In the US there are 37,000 death each year from auto accidents, and about 97% of those are driver error. We can reduce accidents and have a true impact on society. And it’s estimated that there will be over $507 billion of productivity gains by not being stuck in traffic!

The government and IoT

Q: How should the government be involved in IoT?

Daniel: We talked to the private sector and who they are selling to in government. The answer was not much in IoT. The government at the moment is lagging behind the private sector. The number one area for using IoT by governments is military capabilities. But they are also moving towards worker safety and reducing energy use.

All federal agencies need to see the technology and create and action plan. They should enhance their mission to cut costs and create a list of goals for IoT.

Alan: We have learned a ton already, and will be sharing more information in public soon. It shows a lot of opportunities and challenges that are out there. We cannot realize these opportunities without dealing with privacy and security issues, and we know the actions we need to take to support them.

When the internet was first breaking through we went for a light touch model. Tech to trial. We were humble with regulation, when we did intervene it is in a pro innovation way. We need to do that with the Internet of Things.

Sebastian: The major issue is not security or privacy, rules exist and state of the art will come. We have to make sure that it isn’t just the smart giants forming the IoT privacy and security. IoT is a key enabler, and the good person needs to be able to play. We have to make sure that all the models can exist, every technology should have its chance.

Bridget: From an Intel perspective, IoT is such a range of devices, apps, use cases, conditions, etc. that’s what it means. A thing is only a thing until it gets connected to the internet. It’s what makes IoT possible. We want to enjoy the benefits, and allocate more general use spectrum, let’s not guess the right use environment.

We believe that 5G, self-driving, coverage, virtual reality will all have a range of needs, and you want to cater for all. A combination of spectrum allocation is key and we need global government support to get there.

5G needs to be supported, it is at the foundation of IoT success. How do we make that available and test it to be safer – it’s a critical 5G role.

IoT and security

Q: The recent DDOS in October (link to ddos blog post) were linked to iot devices and vulnerabilities. So what do we need to do for IoT and security?

Alan: The main issue is penetration into parts of our lives that we don’t expect to be vulnerable, our homes, our baby monitors. There are parallels but it is for companies and the government to solve the problem. We do not expect companies to defend themselves from attacks, the government will help. When an individual is attacked we help consumers. But we know the government can’t do this alone, the industry needs to help. We need to promote risk based frameworks and security frameworks. We need to incentivize it, and it needs to be a partnership – an urgent one.

Panelists: IoT benefits, challenges, and opportunities: CES 2017

John Godfrey – SVP Public Policy, Samsung Electronics America

Alan Davidson – Director of Digital Economy and Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Commerce, US Department of Commerce

Bridget Karlin – Managing Director, Intel

Daniel Castro – Vice President, ITIF

Jeff Brueggeman – VP Global Public Policy and Deputy Chief Privacy Officer, AT&T

Sebastian Soriano – Chairman, ARCEP

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