IoTUK Theme Day
Interoperability, Security and New Business Models
IoTUK recently hosted a Theme Day, creating opportunities to leverage on the UK’s expertise in a security and interoperability of Internet of Things. To be able to fully unlock the value of IoT to create new businesses and jobs, we wanted to understand interoperability, and how to get “things” to truly work together. But not only on the technology and data layer, but on the human layer and the most abstract institutional layer also.
Points discussed were all around how devices can truly interoperate and what should be interoperability platform like without compromising security and resilience.
Most people involved in the industry shared a long-term, ideal vision of an open, interoperable Internet of Things. Interoperability is great, especially for users. There is no doubt about it. It broadens the choice of products, letting them mix and match products and services from multiple vendors to suit their own needs. Different standards are evolving for good reasons; lack of standards restricts market activity. Organisations proving successful are those whom there is a structural disincentive to disrupt and the development of cross-cutting technology, platform and infrastructure. Interoperability need not require that every device uses the same application protocols or that all devices “speak” the same languages. It only requires that ways are found to translate or mediate between them.
Discussions evolved towards a good data protection and how requirements might look like in the future.
Protecting data is of paramount importance for organisations as it could erode customer trust if compromised or otherwise put in a high risk. It is well known to be an increasingly challenging task due to the complexity and the sheer amount of data.
Cyberattacks pose a big threat: devices on the open web are highly exposed, and securing them could be challenging. One of the biggest threats is vehicle cybersecurity, mainly because it is a topic about which much is still unknown. The potential danger appears every so often and has a tremendous impact on businesses making or losing a profit for an extended period of time. The resilience of cryptography poses another problem. We looked at smart meters that could last beyond 40 years, whereas crypto algorithms have a limited lifetime before they are broken.
And then there were business models discussed: a major factor that sometimes mitigates against interoperability.
The internet as we know it is based on open standards but many IoT devices are still locked away in closed ecosystems. Users, however, will expect devices to interoperate in a secure way. This will make it easier and cheaper for companies to enter the market as it overall grows in size. IoTUK will take this topic forward and release a realistic view of emerging economies in areas concerned.
The day was a great success. With attendees from a range of backgrounds and areas of interest, the conversations were both interesting and fruitful. People went away with some new ideas about what the future of the IoT looks like in the UK.
The illustration summarises the discussions for the day.