The number of Internet-connected devices surpassed the number of people alive on planet Earth. At the time, seven billion devices had already been connected to the Internet. This moment represented an important sign of the rapid pace in which we are adopting technology and embracing Internet connectivity. Along with the explosion of mobile phones and tablets, this moment also marked the rise of what we now call the Internet of Things.
The scale of the growth of Internet of Things (IoT) devices is expected to be unprecedented, with some estimates topping 100 billion devices in service over the next decade. They have the potential to impact us in most every aspect of our daily lives. The potential benefits are impressive and promise to transform the way we live, work, and play — but IoT devices also present significant challenges.
To understand the opportunities and challenges associated with the Internet of Things, the Internet Society has released “The Internet of Things: An Overview – Understanding the Issues and Challenges of a More Connected World”, a white paper that examines many important aspects of the Internet of Things. This paper aims to serve as an informational resource about the Internet of Things and a launching off point for further discussions.
The largest portion of the paper presents five primary challenge areas:
- interoperability and standards;
- legal, regulatory, and rights; and
- emerging economies and development.
While many unanswered questions remain, the fact is that the Internet of Things is happening NOW. More IoT devices are being put into service each day, and this paper aims to raise the level of discussion around those questions while acknowledging an evolving landscape.
The Internet Society believes it will take informed engagement, dialogue, and collaboration across a range of stakeholders to plot the most effective ways forward to maximize the benefits of the Internet of Things and meet its challenges. We believe that if we collaborate together the IoT can play a significant role in enabling the “Internet of opportunity” we all seek. It is critical that we all work together to address the challengesin order for the potential benefits for individuals, society, and the economy to be realized .