Monday, February 6, 2017

Monetising the Internet of Things

A lot has been written about the Internet of Things (IoT) with Gartner predicting that the number of connected devices will grow to 20.8 billion by the year 2020. This figure compares with 2.1 billion smartphone users in 2016 and 3.4 billion internet users. I believe the actual number will far exceed those estimates.

Because of the term "Internet of Things", most of the focus to date has been around the “things” that make up IoT. Clearly there is a huge potential market for suppliers of the devices that are connected, switches, networks, cloud storage, etc.

Aside from that tangible value in hardware, the real potential of the IoT is how the “things” interact. As they exchange information, value is being created in the data. This is a new development. Among lawyers, it is just beginning to open new questions. Historically, the laws around data protection, privacy and ownership assumed that a human was doing something with the data. The laws were designed to regulate how those humans would behave and did not envisage scenarios where humans might not be involved at all.