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Descending on London Olympia from 10-11 February, discussions took place on why the Internet of Things can’t realise its full potential without wide access to superfast internet, and why companies have to keep data protection and security front of mind.
As the buzz around the Internet of Things (IoT) grows ever louder, industry events like the IoT Tech Expo are expanding. The Europe event, which took place in London from 10-11 February, is now a world series, with further events confirmed in Berlin and San Francisco later this year.
Over 200 speakers and more than a hundred exhibitors attended the two days in London and there were a couple of key issues on their minds. Throughout strands including Smart Cities, Connected Industry and Connected Living, one topic that speakers kept coming back to was the issue of connectivity.
Getting better connected
Although 84 per cent of UK households had some sort of access to the internet in 2014, according to the Office for National Statistics, it’s still clear that the benefits of IoT, smart homes and smart cities will be hobbled if everyone in the country can’t get a superfast broadband connection.
Speaking at the event, Labour MP and shadow digital economy minister Chi Onwurah said the full benefits of the internet would never be realised when millions of homes still don’t have a fast connection online, Computer Weekly reported.
John Davies, chief researcher at BT’s Future Business Technology research practice, also talked about underlying connectivity during a panel discussion on the development of smart cities in Europe. He pointed out that the socioeconomic benefits of smart cities wouldn’t occur in poorer areas unless the digital divide was addressed.
“We need to put in place more underlying technologies and networks to enable smart city technologies to be employed more effectively,” he said.
Security high on the agenda
Data protection and security were also high on the list of concerns for the IoT industry. Simon Rice, group manager for technology at the Information Commissioner’s Office, said during his keynote speech that transparency and information security were huge challenges for businesses, according to ITProPortal.
Manufacturers need to be clearer about what their products are doing and what information they collect along the way, he said, and businesses need to think about what a consumer’s reasonable expectations of privacy might be – and if they align with what the company believes.
Representatives from industries like manufacturing, transport, health, logistics, government, energy and automotive are also expected at the next two IoT Tech Expo events – where the same issues are likely to be topping the agenda.