How can we ensure society benefits safely from the Internet of Things?

Living in the Internet of Things conference brings together academia, industry and government to discuss how to realise the socioeconomic benefits of an interconnected world, whilst minimising safety and security issues

The Living in the Internet of Things conference this week has brought together academia, industry and government to generate essential insights into realising the socioeconomic benefits of an interconnected world — ensuring society can benefit from the power of the Internet of Things (IoT) while remaining safe, secure and resilient.

Chaired by Professor David De Roure (Professor of e-Research, Oxford e-Research Centre), the two-day conference was held at the IET in London from 1-2 May. It was organised in collaboration with the PETRAS Internet of Things Research Hub, exploring critical issues under the themes of privacy, ethics, trust, reliability, acceptability, and security.

As well as highlighting the intersection of the social and the technical, we’ve had key insights into past and future, and the urgency in addressing IoT privacy, safety, and security.

Margot James, the Minister of State for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, joined the conference to launch the consultation on regulatory next steps for consumer IoT.

David says, “Our conference is unique in bringing academia, industry and government together with a critical focus on safety and security. The minister’s talk was very warmly welcomed, and the consumer IoT theme was spot-on for our expert community. We’ve also had excellent keynote talks from two chief scientific advisors, alongside talks and panels with leading thinkers from industry and academia.”

Researchers from Oxford's Engineering Science and Computer Science departments presented papers at the conference, addressing the threats of fake data in complex cyberphysical systems, and new approaches for enabling people to take control of their privacy in smart homes.

Professor Max Van Kleek (Associate Professor of Human-Computer Interaction, Department of Computer Science), who is co-investigator on PETRAS going forward, contributed to three papers presented. Max comments, "Our papers were among many others that addressed urgent considerations for securing and improving the livability of IoT-enriched environments--environments which we are already being realised across a variety of sectors and settings. It's great to bring such messages to such a broad and influential audience."

We are already discussing our responses to the Consumer IoT consultation, which is key to influencing future legislation in this crucial area.

David added: “It’s been a great conference with some critical conversations. As well as highlighting the intersection of the social and the technical, we’ve had key insights into past and future, and the urgency in addressing IoT privacy, safety, and security. We are already discussing our responses to the Consumer IoT consultation, which is key to influencing future legislation in this crucial area”.

A transcript of the minister’s speech is available. The National Centre of Excellence for IoT Systems Cybersecurity, a new phase of PETRAS, was recently announced.

Images by Albrecht Kurze, via Twitter