From driverless cars to remote patient monitoring – the Internet of Things brings with it exciting benefits and opportunities – as well as new challenges and concerns.
A new report: ‘Accelerating The Internet of Things In The UK – Using Policy to Support Practice’, jointly commissioned by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT and IoTUK, examines the potential policy implications of IoT developments and highlights a number of priority topics for further consideration.
David Evans, Director of Policy at BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT explains, “IoT has enormous positive potential for the public and the economy, but we need to consider the legal, moral and ethical issues surrounding adoption. Not only must we get privacy and security right in order to realise the benefits, we need to understand and evaluate whether the realities of deployment are consistent with the social good we’re aiming for. There are numerous challenges around, trust, data privacy and security that, while not new, are incredibly heightened by this technology. Government has to look at this strategically and in a broader context rather than simply responding to individual issues. The aim of this report is to support a process for policy feedback that will inform the development and adoption of the IoT in the UK.”
The report, based on research carried out by RAND Europe, highlights a number of key policy questions which include:
● What can the policy community do to help accelerate the development of interoperable standards in IoT nationally and internationally?
● What steps can be taken by the policy community to create opportunities for effective collaborative networks involving citizens, industry, academia and government?
● What can be done to infuse and sustain a culture of collaboration among the different stakeholders in the IoT ecosystem?
● What are the ways to disseminate this evidence in a transparent and accessible manner to the various stakeholders in the emerging IoT marketplace?
Salil Gunashekar, the report’s lead author and a senior analyst at RAND Europe, says, “The Internet of Things has the potential to offer positive benefits to UK society and the economy, but there are a variety of issues that could affect its development and adoption. One of the aims of the report is to provoke discussion across policy communities in the UK involved in the development of the IoT, including national and local government policymakers, industry, innovators, academia and the public. It presents a set of policy actions that can help shape how people, the public sector and the private sector make IoT work for all of society.”
Crucial questions raised in this study relate to how the UK can most effectively enable the deployment of IoT products and services to foster business opportunities while creating public trust and confidence in the principles by which the IoT is governed. The report recommends the need for public consultation to develop tools to inform and discuss concerns around the topic. The infrastructure and business processes also need to be developed in order for the potential benefits to be fully realised.
David continues, “It is important that commissioners and users of IoT technology are involved in decision making and policy development, particularly when fundamental trust in IoT is at stake. As our report shows, there are numerous challenges that will require integrated and consistent policy responses across government. The first steps in this direction might involve setting the right framework conditions that ensure long-term growth for the IoT, as well as recognising and understanding the nature of the IoT as a systemic innovation requiring funding, standards, evidence and trust.”