The Internet of Things (IoT) is a disruptive technology that will have a major impact on many industries over the next few years. For many businesses, limiting their commercial proposition to selling products alone curbs opportunities for revenue expansion and ongoing customer engagement. They will increasingly look to “servitise” their commercial proposition by offering integrated services in conjunction with products. “Servitisation” helps to achieve a change in business model, because the business need not rely on a one-off product sale to a customer anymore, and can instead create a continuing revenue stream.

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IoT technology will help enable such business transformation. For example, a tyre manufacturer may offer IoT capability in tyres so that the resulting data can be used by the tyre retailer to offer an alert service for tyre replacement and predictive car maintenance, based on insights gleaned from data points such as torque, gyroscopic rotation, vibration and other information collected in a tyre and at or near the road surface. With the advent of autonomous vehicles, such data might also be used by a vehicle to achieve energy efficiencies and enhance journey calibrations.

IoT technology will also play a part in a related trend. The technology provides a key element needed for “personalisation” of service offerings, with the object of achieving more customer engagement. Instead of offering an uncustomised, one-to-many, product or service, a business can tailor its offering on a one-to-one basis, using data about a customer’s needs collected via IoT technology to enable a more targeted, and more remunerative, marketing and sales strategy.

Servitisation and personalisation are drivers for IoT adoption that apply equally on a business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) basis. Other compelling drivers for adoption include the ability of IoT solutions to provide a business with access to real-time information and global tracking across supply chains. In the B2C context, such drivers also include access to new technologies and new applications for existing products.

IoT technology will help to enable so-called “pervasive” or “ubiquitous” computing (that is, computing that appears any time, using any device, in any location and in any format). That outcome has legal consequences.

 

What is the internet of things

IoT technology is a collection of connected things (such as sensors) able to communicate with one another (or with a central system) without human involvement (whether human-to-human or human-to-computer). The use of the word “Internet” in the term “Internet of Things” connotes connectivity of some kind, although such connectivity need not be via the traditional Internet (for example, it could be via telephony – in particular, the advent of 5G will do much to foster the growth of mobile IoT technology).

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What is an IoT platform?
  • What is the significance of IoT platforms?
  • The logic of economic imperatives

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What are the economic, sectoral and geographical impacts of IoT technology?

Spend projection: global spending on IoT technology is projected to be at a CAGR of 15.6% until 2020. This would result in a global investment in IoT of USD 1.6 trillion.

Number of things: between six and fourteen billion devices (not including mobile phones, tables, computers and other remotes) are currently connected via some form of communications network.

Who is deploying IoT?: businesses on a B2B basis have the greatest share of IoT investment, growing to USD 832 billion in 2020.

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Are there vulnerabilities in the technology?
  • IoT characteristics that exacerbate technology-related vulnerabilities
  • Granular and macro consequence

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What are the key operational issues?

Absence of product lifecycle planning: unlike the software and computer hardware industries, the IoT device manufacturing industry is characterised by a relative lack of product lifecycle planning. IoT devices may become vulnerable as security weaknesses become exposed, but may continue to operate in situ without any plan for replacement or obsolescence. Moreover, IoT device manufactures often rely on third party components, which themselves may not benefit from software development lifecycles, making product lifecycle planning even more difficult.

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What are the key legal considerations?
  • Privacy
    • Will every thing reveal everything?
    • A deeper dive into privacy concerns
    • EU
    • Technical and organisational measures
    • The US position
    • The position in China
  • Cyber security
    • Typical IoT attack scenarios
    • EU
    • US
    • China
  • Who owns the sensor-generated data?
    • Under common law principles
    • Intellectual property rights: IoT-generated data
    • Contractual provisions
    • The position of end users
  • Intellectual property rights: non-data aspects
    • Copyright and interoperability
    • Software patents
    • Standard-essential patents and patent pooling
  • Liability
    • Contractual liability
    • IoT devices and smart contracts
    • Product liability
    • Tortious liability
    • Errors in IoT data
  • Autonomous decision-making by IoT devices
    • Elements of an autonomous IoT ecosystem
  • Discrimination and sorting of customers
  • Regulatory
    • General regulation vs. sectoral regulation
    • The UK position
    • Some general regulatory requirements may apply
    • Mobility
  • Competition / anti-trust law
  • Tax
  • Litigation, governing law and jurisdiction

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What are the issues to consider in acquiring IoT technology?
  • M&A and due diligence
  • IoT collaborations and JVs
  • Contracting for development and licensing of IoT technology

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What should manufacturers and suppliers of IoT technology be doing now?
  • Privacy policies and terms and conditions
    • Why are IoT privacy policies typically inadequate?
  • Other data privacy considerations
  • Other considerations
    • IoT device manufacturers
    • IoT service providers
    • Third party IoT application developers (including mobile)
  • Are there relevant codes of practice and standards?

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What will the future of IoT technology look like?
  • Some predictions
  • Evolution of IoT and customer relationship
  • Regulatory policy

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What will the impact be on specific industries?
  • Energy
  • Financial Institutions
  • Infrastructure, mining and commodities
  • Life sciences and healthcare
  • Technology and innovation
  • Transport

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