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The internet of things

Alexis conran | talk radio | 25 march 2017 

PA Consulting Group’s Karl Havard, a digital expert, is interviewed on Talk Radio’s, The Real Hustle Show about the internet of things (IoT). Karl explains what the IoT is and how companies should be working to ensure that this technology can offer a benefit to the consumer, but also to the business.

The show begins by examining where the data collected by the IoT devices is held. Karl comments that: “The IoT is integrated or attached to the product that collects the usage data […] that data is communicated through various means, via home Wi-Fi or by 4G into typically what is known as the cloud. The cloud is a bank of secure servers which could be held within the organisation that manufactures the product or it could be in partnership with someone like Google or Amazon and the data is then stored securely in the same way that standard phone data is secured in the cloud.”

The presenter asks Karl who owns the data collected by IoT devices. Karl explains: “A consumer owns it. If a consumer opts in to share their data with third parties, like I do, then that means that their data can be shared as they have given their permission to do so. So consumers need to be careful when they do that. A good example is when you upgrade your Apple phone and you get your terms and conditions - you should read all of those – and within that type of questioning there will be a box which asks whether you agree or disagree to share your data. So the onus is really placed on the consumer to check that and give or disallow permission accordingly.”

Karl also goes on to talk about General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which regulates companies using the IoT: “Companies have to, and we advise them to, be fully compliant, which means it’s not just the technology they have to protect it’s also the people that they employ to ensure that the data is as secure as it can be. And if there are any breaches on processes or on where it’s stored they will be liable to significant fines. These fines could be anything up to 4% of global revenues […] hence companies are as compliant as they can be.” 

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Karl also discusses how the IoT is developing and whether it will be more commonplace in the future: “On the research and development side the cost of developing this technology is falling dramatically. This means IoT sensors can be printed, even a battery and the communications can be printed and woven into items, such as a nappy.”

Karl concludes the interview by noting what the IoT can bring to the consumer. He says: “The purpose of the technology is to offer a level of convenience for people and give them time back. The Amazon example is a good one as I can add items to my basket, relax at home rather than going to a physical shop and it will turn up at my door at a time that’s convenient for me.

“The GDPR has put legislation and some guidelines in place which has then helped organisations to understand what they need to do and enforce a level of best practice. And consumers can rest assured that companies are doing that.”

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