THE IoT: MULTIPLE ISSUES AND CHALLENGES
There are many issues and challenges surrounding the IoT revolution. The first challenge is to ensure that it is a driver of innovation, modernisation and competitiveness for the entire economy. New solutions need to be developed and monetised – notably in the areas of on-board intelligence, connectivity services, cloud solutions and big data – and new markets are there for the taking by French and European enterprises.
At the same time, this movement raises an array of regulatory issues that Arcep and its partners are working to anticipate, to be able to give the market its bearings ahead of time.
For the Internet of Things to develop in a lasting fashion, and to ensure that the whole of society benefits from its potential, the driving forces behind its development need to be identified. In terms of connectivity, i.e. the telecommunications networks on which the IoT will rely, there must be a guarantee that the path is cleared of undue obstacles to innovation, potentially resulting from the arrival of new players in the ecosystem.
Moreover, users, be they consumers or businesses, will not fully embrace IoT solutions unless they are guaranteed security, both for their communications and the conditions under which their personal and business data are collected and utilised.
There are also multifarious issues surrounding the networks that will underpin the Internet of Things: interoperability will be imperative, and there will no doubt be rivalries over naming standards and application programme interfaces (API), as having control over them is of strategic importance.
The ability to ensure the systems’ security and integrity will also be crucial, as will protecting users’ data and giving these users the ability to switch seamlessly from one system to another.
A NASCENT AND MULTIFARIOUS MARKET
The strategic review that Arcep initiated in 2015 confirmed it: the emergence of an Internet of Things, which today is being spurred by a first wave of connected objects and new networks, will enable a considerable number of objects tied to a very wide array of fields to interact, with the goal of delivering more relevant and more efficient, i.e. more intelligent, functions ands services.
But this market is still in its infancy, and we should expect to see it expand into new areas of activity. If this first stage in the IoT’s development is taking shape primarily in the consumer market, the enterprise market is also being affected. Business applications carry with them demands for security, quality of service and control over data that are as varied as the potential applications themselves.
Although the IoT’s emergence opens the way to a host of opportunities, it also raises new standardisation issues in several areas: technical standards, numbering and spectrum resource management, as well as competition between new entrants and veteran market players.
Lastly, the Internet of Things creates a new dimension in local public policy, namely the smart city and smart regions in general, both of which require careful consideration, notably with respect to the role that public authorities can and should play in the deployment and operation of the underlying infrastructure.