Policy issues and their impact on the Internet of Things

National and international policy makers and regulators have already played major roles in the history – and success – of the M2M sector. The inspirational role that the EU’s eCall directive played in bringing large scale location service deployments to the automotive sector is widely recognised. However, the long story behind the implementation of eCall has involved much uncertainty in the industry and we can see both the positive and the negative sides of policy making and regulatory processes and their impact on technology development and deployment. Policy and regulation can act as a strong driver – but also be a strong inhibitor if the processes involved become drawn out, tedious, and mired in excessive bureaucratic and sometimes political mechanisms.

Saverio Romeo, Principal Analyst Beecham Research
Saverio Romeo,
Principal Analyst
Beecham Research

However, as the Internet of Things (IoT) starts to transform industries and societies, debate on the role of policies become even more relevant. It is not simply about acting on specific sectors – automotive with eCall, energy with smart metering and others – but goes beyond that to look at the interconnection of systems. The IoT creates a ‘system of systems’ that impacts ways of working across all the systems, interconnecting many different types of processes – and that interconnection is based on data. It has been said in the IoT policy debate that ‘data is the infrastructure’*.

In this systemic scenario – and assuming that policy is important for the future of the IoT (and there’s not necessarily a consensus here), the question is: what type of policy framework is necessary for the IoT? And an even more radical question is: are current policy making processes equipped to respond to the transformation being brought by the IoT vision? The different speeds of development in technology and policy making processes have been evident in recent years. For one glaring example, just look at how policy making organisations have struggled to keep up with the rapid development of social media. The IoT, being based on similarly fast moving technologies, will widen that difference – unless the current debate on IoT policy also involves how we can change policy making processes at all levels to cope with the speed of the industry’s development.

Despite those fundamental questions, the current debate around IoT policies is taking place along the following lines:

  • If ‘data is the infrastructure’, then data will influence all kinds of economic, social, and civic activity so, therefore, data security in the IoT becomes of critical importance. How do we enable security in the IoT and what policy initiatives are required? Topics for discussion here are security by design and security standards.
  •  As a consequence of the previous point, the debate on data privacy is obviously also very relevant.
  • Defining policy frameworks to support the adoption and diffusion of Internet of Things strategies in organisations, with particular attention on small and medium enterprises.
  • Defining policy frameworks to support research, innovation, and entrepreneurship in the IoT.
  • Defining policy frameworks around the IoT in specific sectors – see Industry 4.0 in German, Smart Factory in the EU, Farming 4.0 in Germany and so on.
  • The development of the IoT should be designed with the objective of ensuring sustainable development, ensure easy accessibility for the disabled and underserved, and encourage wider civic and democratic participation.
  • Further themes revolve around the relationships between humans and connected spaces. Will we have a right to remain unconnected in tomorrow’s intelligent spaces?

All these themes are currently under debate in what will hopefully evolve into a truly collaborative debate between all the parties: academia, government and business. Beecham Research – also in collaboration with IoT Now – will continue to explore the issues around IoT policies in order to understand their longer term impact on the IoT community and our wider civilisation.

*Ellen P. Goodman. The Atomic Age of Data: Policies for the Internet of Things. Report of the 29th Annual Aspen Institute Conference on Communications Policy. The Aspen Institute



Self-driving technology firm Sensible 4 receives €8mn to boost sustainable transport

Posted on: May 19, 2022

Luxembourg & Finland. 19 May, 2022 – Sensible 4’s software enables vehicles to operate under the most challenging weather conditions, including snow, heavy rain, fog and sandstorms. Autonomous driving contributes to sustainable transport, reducing the number of traffic accidents and carbon dioxide and polluting emissions. It also provides a solution to the shortage of public

Read more

Wyld and DEWA partner to launch new satellite IoT network and service for utilities sector

Posted on: May 19, 2022

19 May 2022 – The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) has launched its satellite called DEWA-SAT1 and Wyld Networks has partnered with DEWA R&D Centre and Infra X, the telecoms arm of Digital DEWA, to develop IoT terminals to support the new satellite IoT network. Wyld is responsible for delivering the satellite IoT terminals

Read more

9 IoT applications that will change everything

Posted on: September 1, 2021

Whether you are a future-minded CEO, tech-driven CEO or IT leader, you’ve come across the term IoT before. It’s often used alongside superlatives regarding how it will revolutionize the way you work, play, and live. But is it just another buzzword, or is it the as-promised technological holy grail? The truth is that Internet of

Read more

Which IoT Platform 2021? IoT Now Enterprise Buyers’ Guide

Posted on: August 30, 2021

There are several different parts in a complete IoT solution, all of which must work together to get the result needed, write IoT Now Enterprise Buyers’ Guide – Which IoT Platform 2021? authors Robin Duke-Woolley, the CEO and Bill Ingle, a senior analyst, at Beecham Research. Figure 1 shows these parts and, although not all

Read more

CAT-M1 vs NB-IoT – examining the real differences

Posted on: June 21, 2021

As industry players look to provide the next generation of IoT connectivity, two different standards have emerged under release 13 of 3GPP – CAT-M1 and NB-IoT.

Read more

IoT and home automation: What does the future hold?

Posted on: June 10, 2020

Once a dream, home automation using iot is slowly but steadily becoming a part of daily lives around the world. In fact, it is believed that the global market for smart home automation will reach $40 billion by 2020.

Read more

5 challenges still facing the Internet of Things

Posted on: June 3, 2020

The Internet of Things (IoT) has quickly become a huge part of how people live, communicate and do business. All around the world, web-enabled devices are turning our world into a more switched-on place to live.

Read more

What is IoT?

Posted on: July 7, 2019

What is IoT Data as a new oil IoT connectivity What is IoT video So what’s IoT? The phrase ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) is officially everywhere. It constantly shows up in my Google news feed, the weekend tech supplements are waxing lyrical about it and the volume of marketing emails I receive advertising ‘smart, connected

Read more