The emergence of the IoT: challenges

Challenges

  1. The data analytics challenge; given the volume and the real-time nature of the data coming from IoT artefacts there is a need for distributed (and often real-time) analytics. Need for infrastructures to enable such analytics supporting access control and data integration.
  2. The tangibility challenge: IoT produce and can report data. You cannot own data but you can own things. When you own things you may wish to be in control of who your things report to.
  3. The ownership challenge: There is a range of business models on IoT data. On one end of the range a corporation can own the things that you have in your property, their data are reported to the company and the company, in turn, provides you with analytics; on the other end of the range you own the things in your property and provide third parties with access to them based on an agreed price or value. Some IoT artefacts could be public goods.
  4. The networking challenge: The debate on net neutrality needs to be had in a context that includes IoT.
  5. The privacy challenge. Debate in progress. Privacy breaches could be possible due to IoT data sharing but they could also prevented or at least detected at an early stage through the same means.
  6. The cyber-security challenge. Debate in progress. How many parties do we want to be in control of access to IoT data? Could de-centralisation be an answer?
  7. The “what things may come” challenge. We cannot take for granted that IoT artefacts will be only existing things extended with internet connectivity, sensors and actuators. Humans could create things that we cannot currently envisage. Developments in 3D printing could further support that. Maybe we will end up with more things that we like and face ‘things’ pollution.
  8. The ethical challenge; the “what things may come” challenge makes stronger the case for ethical frameworks in world of things that have their own idiosyncrasy

Towards addressing those challenges

Addressing those challenges cannot be without engagement of people. Digital literacy, data literacy and what it means to have Things on the Web, who can benefit from them and how involves people. The debate on policy for IoT needs to be bottom-up, informed by people who understand and are in control of their IoT data. The same bottom-up approach holds the potential for innovation in the emergent IoT world.