Internet of things - exciting yet scary

That was one of several key observations from an IoT event at the BCS Chartered Institute of IT. Others include a warning about internet of fake things as well as the critical role that you, the user, must play in order to ensure things don’t get out of hand, so to speak. Read on to find out more...

BCS North London Branch - Internet Of Things Meeting

The sold out North London Branch event started with an overview of Cisco’s initiatives and activities around the internet of things (IoT), which were vividly described by Sarah Eccleston, (IoT Director at Cisco). Covering everything from cows to ice cream, health monitoring to supermarket supply chain optimisation, she painted a picture of a future with IoT which is already starting to happen right now.

This was followed by a note of caution from Martin Lee, (Cisco threat intelligence), who warned that ungoverned, exponential growth of IoT devices and services could lead, among other things, to an ‘internet of fake things’. According to him, now is the time to steer IoT development toward a safe and stable direction for the benefit of all.

Antonis Patrikios, (Director at FieldFisher), spoke about the legal aspects of IoT and privacy, as well as the need to ensure that IoT works for the benefit of people. He described IoT as the ‘internet of trust’ because that is what will be needed to enhance user experience and address key legal challenges such as user privacy and the fact that ‘IoT is global, but the law is not.’

Finally, Dr Dean Mohamedally and his students at the University College London (UCL) provided a glimpse of real IoT projects developed by UCL post graduate students using Microsoft technology. They described realistic usage scenarios and demonstrated the ability to organise groups of things, controlled via a ‘captain’ device, to support multiple uses of the same things (or groups thereof). E.g. the same captain device in a hospital room full of things could service the use cases of multiple stakeholders, including the: doctor, patient, family members, building security and hospital administrators.

In the end, all speakers seemed to agree that the combination of IoT and big data will be THE game changer in the next wave of computing. There was a certain buzz in the air, as attendees and speakers discussed the possibilities and challenges posed by IoT. One show of hands indicated that attendees thought the internet of things was at least as significant as, if not more so than, the advent of the original internet. It was also felt that user education, (e.g. by the IoT service providers, ‘thing makers’ and their collaborators), would be key to the success and acceptance of IoT by the general public - people are genuinely concerned about their privacy, personal safety and security.

To conclude, IoT is an exciting yet scary proposition, which is set to fundamentally influence the way we interact with information and the world around us. I hope we can get it right.

Comments (2)

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  • 1
    Dalim Basu wrote on 22nd Sep 2014

    Great blog about a great BCS event., and a really hot current topic. As the event title implied, the Internet of Things could be coming soon to Everywhere around YOU! IoT promises many benefits to businesses and individuals – but also raises urgent concerns for us about privacy and security as well as legal, moral and ethical issues. The 'Big Brither' world of 1984 is already here - what will 2015 bring?

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  • 2
    Jude wrote on 29th Sep 2014

    Thanks for the kind words. It was probably one of our better events thanks to the excellent topic, speakers and audience.

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About the author
Jude Umeh is a member of the UK's Sector Consulting Group in Capgemini's global Telecom Media and Entertainment (TME) community. His areas of expertise include: music, media and digital rights management; and he contributes to thought leadership development and delivery of solutions and services to the stakeholders in these fields. Jude is the author of The World Beyond Digital Rights Management.

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