I recently attended the 3rd Annual Internet of Things Europe 2011: Bridging the divide between policy and reality at the Management Centre Europe, Brussels I was invited by Rob van Kranenburg from Council and attending as a representative of the IoT Expert Group and was invited to contribute to the panel on standardisation. The event was useful to get a feel for the temperature of IoT developments in Europe and the progress being made. I think this was best summarised by Mike Nelson (@mikenelson) on the culture of the room when viewed through the lens of West Coast / East Coast / Europe. Which was a different take on the opening quote “Caminante, no hay camino, se hace camino al andar” (Traveller, there is no road; you make your path as you walk).
This was partially down to the sessions of the event (below) but also reflected the nature of the community in the room. One message that struck home for me was a comment that 2-3 years ago it felt like we had a first starter advantage, but now we are moving to trying to keep up.
Societal challenges and applications for a smart and green planet
Where are we today? – The International Experience
Technological developments and business applications
Sources of funding for the IoT
Governance, privacy and security
Standards to support policy
The aim of the event was:
“The Internet of Things is finding its way into real applications and services. It is driven by smart city concepts, energy and mobility management and the quest for data to bring better foresight to scenarios for industry, government and citizens. The 3rd Annual Internet of Things Europe Conference will explore the major trend towards M2M and the merging of online and offline worlds. This event will facilitate the debate among all stakeholders on the discussion of the future of the Internet of Things and how it will re- shape our interactions with the real and virtual worlds in the coming years and how it will affect citizens in everyday life.”
Things I found interesting were Michael Nelson’s thoughts about IoT not needing a single “privacy by design” solution, rather creating the space for many different solutions to be brought to market. And on transparency, its about transparency of the systems to hold the data not necessarily transparency of the data itself.
The keynote presentation by Neelie Kroes (@NeelieKroesEU), Vice President and EU Commissioner for Digital Agenda, European Commission is below but focused on the governance needed and highlighted three issues of object identification, privacy and security. At a meeting at the OECD later that day she extended these to the “Compact for the Internet”: an Internet of Civic responsibility, One Internet, that is Multi-stakeholder, Pro-democracy, Architecturally sound, Confidence inspiring, and Transparently governed!
Peter Hustinx, Supervisor, European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) made a great point that “fundamental to the successful deployment is trust”, ergo effective data protection is a critical success factor. Privacy of data and trust of consumer will be critical – whilst the “right to silence” is “hyperbole (and probably impractical)” it is getting the conversation started on privacy by design. This is a watch-it for us since we need to understand the privacy implications in the built environment that are in-directly caused by us observing and understanding the behaviour of people in buildings. He made this point nicely when he stated “I don’t see objects exercising rights” but went on to describe how the increasing ubiquity of these devices in our environment makes the distinction between us and the objects difficult.
Pilgrim Beart from AlertMe, made a really clear presentation of their consumer IoT application and stated that most IoT once installed is ambient and does not require “modal” interfaces that require our attention – therefore design for that. Great reminder.
Professor Julian Kinderlerer, President, European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies gave a good intro on ethics around IoT and identity “in applying right to be forgotten, we have to know what is that we have to forget.” – their group want your opinions. He also raised the interesting issue of ownership of data and knowledge using the example of ICKN at MIT – should info be mashed together to create swarm behavior? An alternative application could be Police and Insurance DB “sharing” scheme recently in the news.
But the most thought provoking talk for me was Usman Haque from Pachube with a very frank and open talk on the cultural differences between investment in IoT from a start-up perspective learned through 8 years of experience. Worth a flick through the slides covering the IoT market, Europe vs. US funding, and an intro to Pachube.
And slides from my panel intro are also on slideshare.