IoT – the Regulator cometh

As the hype around IoT and IoST heats up and the whole arena motors up Gartner’s hype cycle of massive expectations, a couple of barriers loom on the horizon. One is regulation and the other is data privacy.

The gang at Machina Research cover the area in trench-like depth, but it is worth summarising some of their (and our own) thoughts. For example, the regulator(s) are going to have to address the thorny issue of roaming. For the connected car to work it will need to, er, travel where its driver wants to go. It must therefore stay in touch with a network wherever that might be. And given the appalling and embarrassing coverage in such emerging economies as the United Kingdom (where you cannot make a phone call on most motorways and train lines) the network providers have their work cut out, or face being the laughing-stock of Europe. Even given coverage of a sort in such countries, the issue of national roaming will need to be addressed. And in such countries will need to be allowed/mandated for any chance of success. To confuse matters, the regulation will inevitably differ from one country to the next, so planning a car trip across Europe could be interesting in a couple of years’ time.

Roaming also brings up the embarrassing issue of one rule for a human being another for a machine. For IoT to work (in whatever field) it must work seamlessly. At the moment, humans must pay to visit another country through roaming charges, cars do not have to. This will cause some fairly severe headaches for regulators over the next year or two.

Another issue will be around data and privacy. Some operators believe that the most sensible business model revolves around the value of the data that can be extracted from IoT implementations, but just what regulators and individual companies decide to do will be worth watching. In the US, Ford, General Motors and AT&T believe that this will provide value for all, but in Europe, BMW has just said that it will not share any data with the host of companies queuing up to get their hands on it.

Just where the revenue and value lie in IoT and IoST still remains to be seen, and with the Regulator looming, the whole thing might quickly get to the top of the curve of massive expectations, and begin to tumble into that dark Ravine of Reality.

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Alex Leslie
About Alex Leslie 400 Articles
Alex was Founder and CEO of the Global Billing Association (GBA), a trade body focused on the communications sector. He is a sought after speaker and chairman at leading industry conferences, and is widely published in communications magazines around the world. Until it closed, he was Contributing Editor, OSS/BSS for Connected Planet.

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