The Internet of Things (IOT)
Panelists: Johnathan Murray, Managing Director of Draper Triangle Ventures (Moderator)
Kevin DiDio, Counsel for Varnum
Brad Erickson, Research Analyst, Mobility & IoT for Pacific Crest Securities
Denis Foo Kune, Co-Funder & CEO of Virta Laboratories
John (Ivo) Stivoric, VP of R&D for Jawbone
Matt Van Haaren, CEO of Pixel Velocity
Johnathan transported our imaginations back to what Rip Van Winkle might see in IT technology if he were to wake up today. Now, IT is all about sustainable value where hardware is great but you have to drive utility so it is a blend of software, service and hardware if you want to stay cutting edge. Turning to the panel, Johnathan asked each one to report in on their opinions of where IT is at in their sectors.
Brad: Smart From the industrial perspective, phones have been saturated in profit margins three years go. Components have been driven down in cost. Software needs to catch up. He sees the following opportunities: waste reduction in things like food and industrial equipment downtime; inventory management; delays of all kinds. He feels that the industrial side has more IT opportunities than does the consumer side.
John: From the consumer side, he feels people want to be understood and helped to understand their environment. Medical applications and how to use things are a hot spot for IT advances. Consumers are inundated with messaging and drown in the volume of interactions. Why not use IT to sort through interactions to limit them and create higher value. As an example, why look at all emails and texts in a clueless manner trying to understand who they are from or what they want and if they are important?
Matt: From the energy perspective, data collection from sensors is great but more value comes from making sense of the data to make correlations that; improve rapid decisions, allow for proactive responses, mitigate shut downs, and cut costs. The energy market has a lot to catch up in I devices and software as well as cloud-based systems.
Denis: From the security point of view, there are bottle necks in user trust around privacy, security, and data accuracy. Hackers exploit system weaknesses to gain passwords as entry to steel credit card information or links to getting credit card information. In the medical field alone, there are 12 million routers that are vulnerable today. The challenge of IT today is to design in security into new systems verses plugging holes in old systems.
Kevin: From the legal side, smart products will evolve into smart cities. Soon every company will be an IOT company. There are vulnerabilities in devices used to make our lives easier, such as, home monitoring devices. Manufacturers must keep up to date in not only thinking about how their device could be misused by the end user, but also in how the device could be used as a link to other devices for further crime. The FTC has three privacy challenges for IOT companies: 1) data collection, 2) potential for unexpected uses of consumer data, and 3) heightened security risks. Manufacturers should keep connectivity first in mind instead of just remediating after events occur. Your CIO and General Counsel need to be working together.
Observations: Sharing infrastructure has to be shared amongst companies in order to provide connectivity with multiple devices and platforms. Doing so introduces risk of non-compliant players introducing system vulnerabilities. Accreditation may be one way to mitigate this phenomenon.
People are voluntarily joining the internet collective to get value but what are they sacrificing? Privacy? Security? They still want the benefits without the risk or being harmed.
Companies do not want to air their dirty laundry (weaknesses) even to service providers who could prevent issues.
So what would Rip Van Winkle see if he were to wake up 10 years from now? Ideas: a car that nearly drives itself; automatic dispatching of repair teams in response to gas pipeline leaks; technology that allows the consumer to control their own privacy; a football deflating app on a watch; human interaction devices on touch screens or wrist devices providing emotionally important interactions; and a smart T-shirt to tell the wearer not only the calories of what they ate but how much exercise they will have to do to work it off.