Cyber sec still holding up IoT

Cyber security remains the biggest obstacle to the development of the so-called “Internet-of-Things”, according to IT research firm Gartner.

The term Internet-of-Things, or IoT for short, refers to an ambitious drive to use online connections to extract data from public and private industrial infrastructure in a bid to enhance efficiency or create new business models.

IoT is still climbing toward the peak of the hype cycle stages but enthusiasm around it has led to claims it will be the biggest driver of innovation since the development of smartphones and even the internet itself.

However, Gartner Vice President and research fellow Yefim Natis yesterday recommended that companies “start small” with IoT development before revealing that more than half of respondents to a recent survey the firm conducted on the concept ranked cyber security among their top three concerns about it.

Moreover, cyber security topped the concerns about IoT with 21 per cent of respondents ranking it as their primary concern. However, Mr Natis found a silver lining.

“This is not unusual. When you asked people years ago why they did not go to cloud the first part of the answer was always security but on the other hand security has never stopped progress. People always find organisations, technology, governments, standards bodies find a way to encapsulate these issues, maybe compromise a little and move forward.

“There is perhaps less security. There is evidently less privacy but the technology and progress continues to evolve,” Mr Natis said.

Perhaps equally noteworthy, 19 per cent of respondents ranked “Determining and managing businesses requirements” as their top concern (making it their third largest concern overall) meaning that they were yet to identify any business benefit from it.

In Australia, a group of 25 companies and government agencies have formed a not-for-profit organisation to promote IoT. The organisation, known as the IoTAA, has a board comprised of representatives from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, the Australian Communication and Media Authority (ACMA), NBN Co and federal privacy protection watchdog the OAIC, and it has the full support of Australia’s peak telecommunications industry body, the Communications Alliance.

The telecommunications industry has flagged as IoT as a potentially lucrative new revenue source; particularly as Gbps-range 5G mobile broadband technology using so-called “beam-forming” techniques matured.

However, UK research firm New Street presented research on at an event hosted by ACMA in Sydney last month in which it cast heavy doubt on the idea of 5G giving IoT a business.

In its research it urged telco investors to ignore noise and press coverage highlighting IoT as a key feature of 5G as it was “unlikely to translate into value for operators” and because it was distracting from “more fundamental questions concerning 5G”.