Aligning the IoT Ecosystem

Guiding Question: How can we maximize the opportunities created by the Internet of Things while minimizing and mitigating negative externalities? Goal: Accelerate the responsible adoption of IOT solutions Context:The Internet of Things (IoT) has the potential to generate significant opportunities to improve both business and society through connected devices. In pursuit of this opportunity, we have seen the proliferation of new partnerships across the entire ecosystem including traditional electronics manufacturers, software developers, health care providers, automotive producers, financial services companies, and many others. With this new and complex ecosystem comes the need to ensure interoperability and security as well as to confront a host of other issues related to the diffusion of connected computing devices. In response to this need, efforts to standardize various aspects of IoT have emerged, such as the  Industrial Internet Consortium, Industrie 4.0, Open Interconnect Consortium Standards, the Thread Group, the IEEE Standards Association, the AllSeen Alliance, the Open Connectivity Foundation and the IPSO Alliance. 

Despite these efforts, the ecosystem as a whole has yet to align on a common agenda, common priorities, or a common set of standards and common approach to accelerate IoT adoption in a way that ensures security and ensures that these innovations produce a net benefit to society. Securing the IOT Ecosystem in particular requires greater alignment across all stakeholders across Industrial, Consumer and Public spheres. Alignment on IOT Security across these spheres has been identified as critical for achieving long-term sustainable development, as highlighted by SDG16 on Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.

This lack of alignment was a key issues raised by the Electronic Governors of the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in in Davos in 2017 as well as by other communities across the Digital Economy and Society System.  Building on discussions in Davos, we carried out a series of scoping activities in consultation with experts at MIT, the IEEE, the Industrial Internet Consortium, Flex, Dell, Kaiser Permanente,Philips, HP Enterprise and others to develop a common understanding of the current IOT Landscape.  Through these scoping activities, we developed a draft map of the existing IOT landscape including key initiatives, standardization efforts and stakeholder groups. This scoping work was presented and discussed on a launch call in April and will be further socialized at upcoming WEF meetings.  Based on initial consultation, and a group launch call in April, three primary gaps in the current landscape have been identified as priorities:   Priority areas for Deliverables: 1)    VOCABULARY: Develop a common vocabulary so we are able to think about this problem and the areas we should be focused on (i.e. the overall architecture, across layers of the stack and the components of the ecosystem) 2)    VALIDATION: Establish best practices around security and design, promoting some minimum level of security (exploring the feasibility and potential of 3rd Party Validation of Architectures as well as setting normative guidelines for “good design” ) 3)    USE CASES: Develop a set of use cases to serve as a reference points for common nomenclature, security, design, economic and ethical considerations.

While the IOT Ecosystem is a topic that draws significant engagement throughout the world, we have received feedback that the Forum is uniquely positioned to serve at the nexus of technical and standards-setting bodies on the one hand and governments and regulators on the other while being able to leverage the trust of the key industry players necessary to make decisions and share expertise in this area.