The Internet of Things

image of The Internet of Things

This publication is the seventh in the series of “ITU Internet Reports”, originally launched in 1997. It looks at the next step in “always on” communications, in which new ubiquitous technologies (such as radio-frequency identification and sensors) promise a world of networked and interconnected devices (e.g. fridge, television, vehicle, garage door, etc.) that provide relevant content and information whatever the location of the user – heralding the dawn of a new era, one in which the internet (of data and people) acquires a new dimension to become an Internet of Things. Topics covered include new enabling technologies, business opportunites, public policy challenges, and implications for the developing world. A statistical annex covering over 200 economies is also included.



Emerging Challenges

For businesses and consumers alike to fully exploit the potential of the new technologies discussed in this report, a number of public policy challenges must be overcome. In the first instance, standardization and interoperability are pre-requisites for the widespread diffusion of any technological development. Governments must also create effective mechanisms for fostering national innovation and managing their progress. One of most important challenges, particularly for technologies such as RFID and sensor networks, is the protection of consumer privacy. This chapter examines some of these challenges, before exploring the broader socio-ethical implications of a truly pervasive Internet of Things.


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