Last week I attended a GSMA seminar on the regulatory and policy environment to facilitate the Internet of Things. The group comprised operators, regulators, app developers, car makers, policymakers and think-tanks – leading to plenty of energetic discussion.
First the cool IoT stuff. My top three:
- Functionality creep: new uses for every device with a 5G connection. Any connected vehicle will be a ‘sensor on wheels’ – postal vans transmitting air quality measurements, for example.
- New connected traffic paradigms: concepts like highly automatic driving, co-operative driving (if your car hits a pothole, it will tell my car so we can avoid it). Also tele-operated driving (a paramedic remotely driving your car to the hospital if you’ve become incapacitated), see-thru cameras (my car reads the feed from your dashboard camera). Thrilling stuff.
Then, the ever-present concerns.
- Security: everybody agreed this was critical. Everybody agreed this was going to be the hardest bit to get right. No answers yet, just a lot of priorities.
- Data: who owns the data generated by the sensors in your car / device. Who shares it with whom, who uses it?
- Insurance and liability: that’s a whole new can of worms and I imagine a lot of heads are being scratched…
- Cost: does every drive into Europe now involve buying a roaming package for your car, as well as your phone?
The regulator’s role with the Internet of Things is to foster competition and protect consumers while helping stimulate market development generally. I believe the way forward is for lightweight standards. A common set of APIs, data platforms and data models for interoperability is essential for a healthy vendor ecosystem.
I left feeling I had received lots of snippets of great information – waiting for an overall strategy and direction. Hope the industry and regulators agree quickly on this one.