miércoles, 14 de enero de 2015

"Internet of the Things" as a synonim of connectivity

Since it became a mainstream element of our society by the end of the 90´s, Internet has been built as a succession of paradigms. Examples of this paradigms are e-commerce or web 2.0. There are different among them, but they share its complexity and being an umbrella for a huge range of services. The last of this paradigms is "Internet of the Things".

"Internet of the Things" is a synonym for the full digitalisation of society and economy. Its emergence has been possible thanks to the confluence of four technology elements (sensors, cloud, big data and mobility) that are making possible the creation of virtual images of any aspect of our life. It is more about the ubiquitous connection of people, whatever where they are and its activity, than the connection of things. Things are only the intermediaries to the network.

As a consequence of its vocation of ubiquity, "Internet of the Things", as happened previously with e-commerce or Web 2.0, are an ever growing collection of ecosystems. These ecosystems are characterized by two features, there are at the same time independent among them but its value grow exponentially when they are connected. Examples of these ecosystems are Smart Cities and Smart Cars. They can work in an independent manner but it synergies makes them more valuable for us. The creation of this synergies it's only possible based on a set of standards. Therefore, openness, interoperability and portability should be nurtured by the ICT community in a more extreme manner than with previous techonological waves.

Nevertheless, "Internet of the Things" looks as a more complex paradigm than the previous ones. The promise is not only more services and efficiency for our life and activities, but also a transformation beyond the mere automatisation. This fact implies the need of more intervention from public authorities. The public intervention should be based on a "no harm" principle.

On one hand, public authorities should not harm innovation. As with any new paradigm, "Internet of the Things" development requires the development of the framework conditions that attract investments. But taking advantages of the "Internet of the Things" is not possible without access to specialised soft and hard infrastructure required by big data. It is needed to make available this infrastructure to those with ideas and less access to funding sources.

On the other hand, governments should guarantee no harm to the citizens. "Internet of the Things" without limits poses a clear threat to privacy. Public authorities shall develop the conditions that avoid an excessive concentration of information in the same hands and the capability to discriminate based on this information. The protection of citizens as consumers is also needed.

"Internet of the things" is the last of the row of paradigms unleashed by the internet. Its development requires more complex balances than previous paradigms. More equilibriums based on openness are needed both in the ICT, investment and public sphere that will not be possible without dialogue between all the stakeholders. "Internet of the Things" is a synonym of connectivity both as technological paradigm and as a society achievement.

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