Ethics and the Internet of Things - an Oxymoron

Monday 19 March 2012, 6.00pm - 8.00pm

BCS, 1st Floor, The Davidson Building, 5 Southampton Street, London, WC2E 7HA | Maps

Free and open to BCS and Non-BCS members

Robin Duke-Woolley - CEO of Beecham Research Limited (BRL)
Paul Green - Director of Technology and Marketing at Arkessa
Sarah Darby - Deputy Programme Leader of the Lower Carbon Futures Research Team Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford


Machine to machine (M2M) communication has been around for some years - with AMR (automated meter reading) being a prime example. It is becoming more pervasive, particularly with the arrival of services like in-car Telematics, asset tracking, pay as you drive insurance, smart meters in the home and remote healthcare monitoring. This meeting will explore the premise that M2M does have ethical issues of concern, and many people are not aware of the implications and potential hazards of this technology.

There will be short presentations from three industry practitioners describing uses, applications and attitudes regarding M2M. This will be followed by a debate where audience members will be encouraged to identify ethics-related issues revealed by the presentations.

About the Speakers:

Robin Duke-Woolley is CEO of Beecham Research Limited (BRL), a technology market research, analysis and consulting firm established in 1991. It focuses on the growing M2M connected devices market and the increasing use of Remote Device Management and Services - also referred to by terms such as: Embedded Connectivity, Embedded Networking, Remote Device Monitoring, Remote Asset Management, Pervasive Internet and Pervasive Computing.

Analysts forecast a dramatic increase in the number of connected devices in the next few years. Robin will provide an overview of this market, explaining how this introduces new business models for different vertical sectors, and what this means in terms of opportunities and challenges for the industry as a whole.

PDF file Robin Duke-Woolley's Presentation

Paul Green is Director of Technology and Marketing at Arkessa, a UK-based company which provides a range of connectivity and data management services designed specifically to enable the remote Internet for equipment, machines and devices.

Remotely monitoring a simple domestic appliance may be of benefit to many interested parties, including infirm or incapacitated householders, because their usage data can be a valuable source of information about their wellbeing. However, it can also be unwittingly intrusive, allowing a remote and unknown party to ‘snoop’ on the individual’s lifestyle. Paul Green will explore some of the challenges of providing remote monitoring services both practically and ethically, illustrating this with some intriguing stories of real life implementations.

PDF file Paul Green's Presentation (8 Mb)

Sarah Darby is deputy programme leader of the Lower Carbon Futures research team at the Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford. Her research centres on how technologies are adopted and adapted by users, and on the development of smart metering and smart grids.

Renewal of our electricity networks is under way, to replace ageing equipment and also to accommodate more distributed renewable generation and changing patterns of demand. M2M technologies are being deployed at the transmission level, down through the lower-voltage distribution networks to the office and household, and even to individual appliances. The introduction of ‘smart meters’ is seen as the gateway to an automated and lower-carbon home, but also as the 'spy in the home', a health hazard, and a way of introducing unwelcome and more complex tariffs. Sarah will look at the policy context, along with some social and personal implications of introducing digital metering.

PDF file Sarah Darby's Presentation

PDF file Event summary