Caution: Venture capitalists at work

We will look back on March 2018 as the time when Facebook lost $37 billion (€30.01 billion) from its valuation – as did the bluest of chips such as Apple, Netflix and Amazon.

If confidence in established brands is falling, what does that mean for the unproven entities, such as the connected car? It didn’t help that March saw the first reported pedestrian fatality caused by an unmanned vehicle, as a driverless Uber mounted the pavement and hit a walker in Arizona. Potential investors in IoT for the automotive sector will be all too aware that a Tesla driver died in May 2016 while using the driver-assistance system.

It should be pointed out that the shock of the first pedestrian car death in 1896 didn’t hold back the progress of the new ‘automobile’ industry. Bear in mind people were more cautious of car back then. A man was initially required to walk in front of every car, waving a red flag.

Cars travelled at 4 mph (much like central london today) and casualties made front pages headlines. These days, road accidents are so frequent they’re barely local news and yet we’ve lost none of our appetite for road travel. Granted, fewer young people want cars, but that’s because of the cost and congestion. All the enjoyment these days comes from the passenger seats as you savour the sensual treats the car is laying on. The only question is whether man or machine is the better driver.

These deaths have caused uncertainty though. There’s a big crowd assembling by the side of The Road To Connectivity. The hitch-hikers look like lawyers.

Uber’s fatal accident has diverted us into a legal minefield, according to Stuart Pearson, construction lawyer at Cardiff and London based law firm, Capital Law.  “Self drive and driverless vehicles present an enormous challenge to existing laws surrounding the relationship between human error and technology,” says Pearson.

While liability, health and safety legislation is under scrutiny the industry could be held up. Technology and insurance companies need to work with the health and safety executive to litigate for a safe roll out of this technology.

In practical terms, this could mean designated areas of public highways being used as test areas, says Pearson. Isn’t that going to be a logistical nightmare? They are also likely to be subject to greater health and safety regulation, warns Pearson.

Nick Booth

Venture capitalists are becoming wary of consumer propositions with weak differentiation and marginality, according to Richard Hadden, investment director at Breed Reply, an ‘early operational’ IoT investor. The endless mobile apps for loss-making services like Uber are a case in point, he says.

Having said that, there seems to be unique attitude toward the tech sector among investors – never mind the risk imagine the reward.

“Even the Bitcoin bubble seems only to be encouraging some investors,” says Hadden. His company ‘remains wary’ of Bitcoin and blockchain, which is sometimes bunged into a proposition ‘like fairy dust’.  “We have seen some genuinely interesting blockchain use cases in IoT, but only a handful of them have offered benefits,” says Hadden.

Nevertheless, momentum is growing. The fastest embrace of IoT is happening with insurers. “Sensors, machine learning and big data techniques are giving them new tools to monitor and manage risk,” says Hadden.

Soon those lawyers will be done with walking in front and waving a red flag. Then we can all move faster.

The author of this blog is Nick Booth, freelance IT and communications writer

Comment on this article below or via Twitter: @IoTNow OR @jcIoTnow


T-Mobile launches advanced industry solutions

Posted on: October 3, 2022

Bellevue, United States – T-Mobile unveiled advanced industry solutions, an end-to-end suite of connectivity, compute, devices, and applications needed to make smart cities, autonomous factories, and more, possible. Businesses and municipalities no longer have to wade through endless options of technology vendors because the un-carrier is bringing it all together.

Read more

Fibocom Launches New Generation of 5G Sub-6GHz and mmWave Module FX170(W) Series Based on Snapdragon X65 5G Modem-RF System at MWC Las Vegas 2022

Posted on: October 3, 2022

(Sponsored News) During MWC Las Vegas 2022, Fibocom launches 5G Sub-6GHz and mmWave module FX170(W) series based on Snapdragon® X65 5G Modem-RF System, delivering enhanced broadband capabilities with superior performance.

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
IoT Newsletter

Join the IoT Now online community for FREE, to receive: Exclusive offers for entry to all the IoT events that matter, round the world

Free access to a huge selection of the latest IoT analyst reports and industry whitepapers

The latest IoT news, as it breaks, to your inbox