Carnegie Mellon University

photo of workshop

What is the Global State of IoT Governance?

On February 6th, Metro21 hosted a World Economic Forum Workshop focused on the Global State of IoT Governance. The workshop took place at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and brought together subject matter experts across public, private, and academic sectors.

In the workshop, the group discussed the World Economic Global Internet of Things Governance survey findings. The purpose of the report is to help inform IoT Governance and future policies, examining questions like what challenge areas and domains have the greatest potential for impact and where are the governance gaps?

At the workshop, CMU facilitated three breakout sessions focusing on Public IoT, Consumer IoT and Enterprise IoT. IoT represents a pathway to addressing humanity’s most critical challenges. These issues truly represent a global opportunity maximize benefits and minimize harm for all. In each breakout session, the teams focused on how privacy and trust, safety and security, interoperability and system architecture, social benefit and equity, and economic viability are impacted by the internet of things.

In the discussion from the Public IoT breakout, a reoccurring topic was how to get systems to operate with each other and be self-sustained. One attendee mentioned solar trash cans that have increase efficiency in the waste management sector, but the challenge is that these solar panels will need to be replaced and the funding and maintenance has to be sorted out.

In the Consumer IoT breakout, by asking questions and pointing out gaps, the attendees started connecting dots to new solutions for consumer IoT governance. One of the biggest discussion points was how people are unpredictable and therefore it is difficult to create policy when you don’t know how people will use a device.

An attendee mentioned the recent video of artist Simon Weckert walking down a busy street in Germany with 99 cell phones in a wagon attempting to spoof google maps and show that there was a traffic jam. This is an example of how we have to push the boundaries of our assumptions for how people will be interacting with devices.

Finally, one major realization from the discussion was that perceptions on the global state of IoT differ significantly when you look at it from a corporate vs. government point of view. The insights that came to light throughout the workshop will inform Global State of Internet of Things (IoT) Governance Report 2020, in combination with the survey results, interviews and domain expert case studies.