The Internet of Things is a huge change that will have a large impact on the Internet in New Zealand. The size & scale of devices that will be Internet connected is growing dramatically.
The IoT involves everyday objects being subject to network connectivity, allowing data to be sent and received. Think self driving cars and smart heating.
The IoT has the potential to transform many aspects of our lives. More automation, autonomous systems and machine based connectivity to benefit our homes, our businesses and our communities. While this poses some great economic opportunities for New Zealand, it also raises some important questions about safety and privacy.
We've been talking and thinking about the IoT for the last 12-18 months. We held a Speaker Series all about the Internet of Things, we hosted workshops at ITx in 2016, we wrote a discussion starter and we are a member of the IoT Alliance which has highlighted the economic benefits of the Internet of Things for New Zealand.
Sometimes I get asked why InternetNZ is involved in the Alliance, and why we care about IoT. It's a fair question, our interest in the Internet of Things is to ensure that we get a better world through a better and thing-filled Internet. But we are concerned that the IoT term is being used too widely, to describe too many things that simply don't have that much in common.
The Internet of Things and the Internet of You are different
We think there is a difference between the Internet of Things, including the industrial sensors, agritech and roading sensors, and the Internet of You, all the newly Internet connected things you are wearing, carrying around with you, that are in your home and in your car. We think the Internet of You, while cool and interesting, has some significant human rights, privacy and data sovereignty issues. These are the issues that need our voice. It is in this, newer and potentially risky, part of the Internet that we think our voice is needed.
We welcome and are excited by the industrial, agricultural and broader opportunites that the IoT brings to our country. We are also excited by the Internet of You, but our enthusiasm is tempered by our interests that the IoY makes the Internet, and the world, better. We don't want to sleep-walk (monitored of course) into an ever present surveillance society. We don't want people locked out of their homes because the home automation system has been functionally knocked offline while it contributes to a DDoS due to poor cybersecurity.
Talking about the Internet of You is where we can make a positive contribution a better world through a better Internet. So that is where we will be focussing our input and contribution to the IoT in New Zealand.