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Oct 20, 201401:05 PMLegal Login

with Mindi Giftos

The next big thing in technology: 3 top challenges of ‘The Internet of Things’

(page 1 of 2)

The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to “smart” devices that transmit data via the Internet through both wired and wireless communication. These devices use sensors embedded in physical objects to follow programmed commands or to “learn” behavioral patterns through data collection.

The devices store this information and are able to recognize everyday behaviors of the owners of those devices. Common examples are when a thermostat device remembers the time of day when the user increases or decreases the temperature in his house or when a burglar alarm device senses that it should turn itself off when the user gets home.

The application of IoT reaches across both private life and business. For example, the NFL recently started putting sensors on players to understand where they are on the field at all times and to gather other statistics, such as running speed. The information these devices generate can help influence how a business should run; however, as these devices become more prevalent, there are some important things for companies to consider:

1. Data security

In order for IoT to be as effective as it can be, the devices will often need access to device owners’ personal information. Furthermore, the data these devices generate or use may be sensitive health or financial information and need to be protected. For example, devices that many fitness-conscious consumers wear can track the owner’s sleep patterns, pulse, activity levels, and other information that, while normally considered private, may end up anywhere in the world based on where the servers are that store the information and how the information is transmitted.

Companies, both as sellers and users of IoT devices, should consider the security of the data in relation to these devices. Especially when considering the recent cyber security breaches at The Home Depot, JP Morgan, and Target, companies will need to determine the best ways to protect these data, considering the amount and type of data stored on these devices, in the event of a security breach.

It is important for companies to develop strategies to protect information once it is collected and to stay on the right side of data-protection legislation in making sure that consumers know what information they are authorizing the device to learn or obtain.

2. Interpreting and using the data

IoT will likely change how companies make decisions. The up-to-the-second data will allow businesses to develop strategies based on the usage of the product, instead of the largely static information that today’s business models are based on. This could allow companies to alter marketing strategies on the go based on the data the devices produce, or to turn the data itself into a revenue-generating product. Further, as more devices are added to IoT, it is possible that interpretation of collected data will tell conflicting stories based on which metrics are tracked. Companies will need to develop strategies and systems to analyze the data, then decide which data to follow or how to combine the data for the best possible information for the company to use.

(Continued)

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About This Blog

Mindi Giftos and her colleagues in Husch Blackwell’s Technology Law group handle a wide variety of issues related to emerging and established technologies, including intellectual property, development and licensing, commercial contracting, and corporate transactions across a broad range of industries.

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