The “Internet of Things” – Next Generation Internet

Regency IT Consulting, representing our parent company Cassidian CyberSecurity, are currently assisting the Digital Policy Alliance in a series of government consultations designed to bring together the “Best of British” in the debate concerning the “Internet of Things” (IoT).

The focus of the consultations that Regency are involved with are the political, economic and social impacts of the IoT that is now gradually starting to appear in our lives, and how we as a country can benefit and use them to our advantage in our efforts to recover our economy.

The term IoT is used to describe the introduction of approximately 50 billion interconnected sensor and actuator chips which will be embedded in areas such as motor vehicles, family homes and business areas. The time frame for this introduction is expected to be over the life of the next three UK parliaments.

So what will the ‘Internet of Things’ look like? A good question, the following are some technologies or ideas that are currently planned or expected:

  • New Internet Protocol (IP) standard (IPv4 will be replaced by IPv6, although this has already begun in areas as far back as 2005);
  • Next generation social networking technologies;
  • Networked Sensors manufactured ready to network physical data (e.g. sensors in your body that will transmit relevant data to the NHS if you are “at risk” of certain conditions);
  • Energy Sensors in homes and buildings that will convey data back to the utility companies (the US has already started to progress in this field already); and,
  • Motor Vehicles with networked Sensors conveying mechanical data back to garages or motor manufacturers.

The five key areas of the IoT that affect the UK are thought to include:

Business

Research and development in the IoT technologies is currently on-going in this area but needs to grow to meet growth and demand.

Utility company Supervisory Control & Data Acquisition (SCADA) technology is now set to transform how our homes pass energy data to our utility suppliers from our homes over the internet.

Smart Cities – Glasgow has already begun to plan its transformation to Smart City status. A smart city is recognised as one which can balance its complexity whilst becoming more efficient as well as reducing expenditure and improving its citizens’ quality of life.

People

The opportunities for the health sector with the advent of IoT technologies are huge and include advances in all areas of health care.  Recent examples have seen surgeons carrying out remote diagnosis using tele-medicine, as well as patients suffering from conditions such as dementia wearing ethical medical tags which report their position to health staff and have the potential to transmit patient health data.

Government

The UK governments’ role within the IoT is wide ranging but includes some of the following activities or roles:

  • Leadership: the DPA IoT is currently led by Dr Julian Huppert MP for Cambridge;
  • Investment: both financial as well as intellectual;
  • Spectrum licensing for radio enabled sensors; and,
  • Governance of emerging technologies that may encroach on existing areas.

Data, Protection, Safety & Security

More education needs to be made widely available in the use of ‘data’ captured under IoT.

The DPA IoT working group will consider who in the UK will be responsible for storing the future data and who will be able to access it as well as protect it.

Infrastructure & funding

10% of the UK population is still not connected to “the network”, although this work is ongoing.

A key concern is how we manage the addressing system that is required to permanently issue a network address to a sensor and how we link this for the transformation to the IPv6 enabled network.

The UK Government in consultation with industry and the DPA will now look for innovative ways to fund these new technologies which will be integral to the IoT.

Moving forward & the future

Regency IT Consulting is excited to be part of this cutting edge work group and look forward to working with our clients to better understand the information security aspects of these new technologies as well as helping to introduce them as part of a project or wider programme.

For more information on how Regency IT Consulting can help you become an integral part of the ‘Internet of Things’ please contact us at info@regencyitc.co.uk