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IoT Evolution Expo Town Hall Meeting: Let's Get Regulating

By Ken Briodagh
February 06, 2019

We had an incredible IoT Evolution Expo last week, and one of the highlights was our regulatory-focused Town Hall meeting. We talked about dozens of topics around the world of regulating telecom, IT and IoT infrastructure. Here is a little sample of what you may have missed.

When it comes to IoT, people are developing solutions either to save money, make money or to comply with regulation. However much of the regulatory environment is trying to provide a framework for success in deployments.

Speakers:

  • Staci Pies, Senior Public Policy and Government Relations Counsel, Google
  • Kristina Podnar, Digital Governance Consultant, NativeTrust Consulting
  • Glenn Richards, Partner, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman

Knowing how to apply regulations is tricky, the panelists said.

“It's difficult to know what regulations should be imposed without knowing the benefits,” said Pies. “The benefits of connected technology are more than saving money, especially when you look beyond the early adopter phase that we're still in.”

IoT can improve peoples’ lives in tangible ways, including increasing accessibility for the disabled, easing the process for seniors to live longer at home, and helping low income communities save money. Pies said that Google is working with low income communities to use Nest to save money on heating. “We have a special responsibility to make sure that smart devices protect consumers' data and privacy,” she said. “In the home, this requires Google to be good stewards of information.”

Regulators need to take a balanced approach to regulating IoT as a developing industry, making sure to protect users while showing consideration for innovative opportunities, the panel agreed. Any technology-specific regulations that are imposed can be outdated very quickly and the regulators can fall behind innovation.

They also called for public-private partnerships to lead to controls that companies can work with, and government regulators can keep the regulations up to date.

“The IoT is new and you never want to regulate something new,” Podnar said. “Because you need to experiment and learn more, before you do. The problem is that unless you do some regulations early, you end up in the ‘pit of chaos.’”

The Pit of Chaos notwithstanding, regulations are inevitable and a necessary control to protect users. It’s going to be interesting to see if the industry and self-regulate fast enough to keep the governments satisfied.


The IoT Evolution Expo, and collocated events, IoT Evolution Health, LPWAN Expo, The Smart City Event, and IIoT Conference, will take place Jan. 29 to Feb 1 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Visit IoTEvolutionExpo.com to register now.

Edited by Ken Briodagh

Editorial Director

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