CES 2017: As with Big Data, Human Factor Plays a Part in IoT

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LAS VEGAS — Agencies wanting to exploit the Internet of Things face many of the same issues they confront in creating open data portals, dashboards and visualizations, industry members said Thursday during a 2017 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) panel discussion on “Delivering the Internet of Everything.”

The problem, said Jason Collins, vice president of IoT marketing at Nokia, is that even in business, IoT projects — like data streams — can be unconnected or siloed.

“There needs to be a standard around data sharing. We’re sort of building the equivalent of the Internet in 1995 and what we need is the Web,” said Collins, who has worked with cities including Austin on making open data available.

Nokia, he pointed out after the CES discussion, is a member of the ng Connect Program, a collaboration community to pioneer broadband infrastructure, devices, applications and content. Other members of the program include the city of Fresno, Calif.

Panelist Bridget Karlin, managing director of IoT strategy and integrated products for Intel, noted that by 2020, people are projected to generate 1.5 gigabytes of data per day — and cars are projected to generate 4 gigabytes of data.

“There’s no shortage of data,” Karlin said, emphasizing data sources must be trustworthy.

Alon Segal, chief technology officer (CTO) of Telit Communications, said the problem is working with the data.

“The data is out there. We don’t know how to consume the data. We don’t lack data, we lack the means to monetize it, to make something valuable out of it,” Segal said.

Moderator Stacey Higginbotham, host of the IoT podcast and a technology and finance writer, said she felt like people are still very app- and cell phone-dependent when it comes to IoT.

What is IoT, exactly? Panelists had varying assessments.

Collins portrayed it as a huge network of things, powered by increasingly low-cost sensors.

Already today, big data is becoming the new normal, and artificial intelligence and machine learning are “the new rocket science,” said Curtis Sasaki, vice president of ecosystems and IoT general manager for Samsung’s Strategy and Innovation Center.

“I think what I hope to happen with technology is, we actually help solve some of the hard global problems,” Sasaki said, mentioning a new connected stethoscope that can live-stream health data.

Karlin highlighted obstacles to IoT, including security, interoperability and manageability.

“We lack standards and it’s slowing us down,” she said. “We have to pay attention to that and move along so we can get to scale.”

But, Higginbotham said, maybe it’s that “the businesses aren’t ready for the tsunami of change that’s going to affect them with respect to IoT.”

Collins told Government Technology he thinks the key issue is the same that agency officials face in open data: the human factor.

“I think what you’re seeing is, the technology makes things possible — but we need to figure out how to make the human organizations adapt so they can have the best use out of the technology,” Collins said.

As for what 2017 will hold for IoT? Sasaki said he’s looking forward to seeing companies innovate on Samsung platforms, while Collins said he hopes to see privacy issues begin to be solved, and for more data brokerages.

Augmented and virtual reality excite Intel, Karlin said. “I think AI is what’s going to help us move beyond just reacting to things.”

But to achieve these goals, panelists agreed that collaboration and security will be paramount.

“This is about re-creating the Web in a physical world,” Segal said. “It just needs the ‘oomph’ behind it to take off.”

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