Carnegie Mellon University

WEF State of the Connected World 2023

World Economic Forum Releases State of the Connected World, 2023 Edition

The World Economic Forum in collaboration with the Council on the Connected World released The State of the Connected World 2023 Edition— the only global report that tracks and quantifies governance gaps for the universe of connected devices, known as the internet of things (IoT). and how their rapid adoption is occurring without baseline governance protocols.

The report quantifies survey results from more than 270 experts across the globe, as well as interviews and research, to paint a clear picture: Universal governance for IoT devices is necessary to improve security, privacy, sustainability, interoperability, and equity. Without it, cyberattacks, data breaches and privacy issues will continue.

Use of connected devices – such as smart phones, medical sensors, and home security – is predicted to increase rapidly despite concerns about a lack of basic protocols to minimize security risks. In 2015, there were more than 15 billion devices in use, which nearly tripled to 43 billion by 2022, and is expected to reach 75 billion by 2025. The pandemic accelerated this trend.

Notable findings from the report:

  1. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the face of IoT and related technologies using new cases and applications, bolstering demand in areas such as health, manufacturing and consumer IoT.
  2. The increase in innovation of IoT devices and related technologies are improving everyday life, but the lack of confidence in areas including privacy and security may stifle progress.
  3. Rapid advances of IoT technology have challenged the ability to regulate industries and implement industry standards. The survey conducted points towards ethical and responsible use as the area with the largest perceived governance gap.

In response to the findings, this report highlights the primary areas of opportunity for collective action from businesses and governments, especially those pertaining to ethics, security and accessibility. The report urges businesses and governments to adopt universal best practices such as baseline IoT security capabilities, model policies and guidelines, and frameworks to achieve sustainable development goals, along with noteworthy case studies and initiatives.