Consumers willing to accept the value of IoT despite wafer-thin trust in companies’ data policies

New research from Cisco has explored the pay-off required between value and trust for the Internet of Things (IoT); consumers recognise the value they provide, but are less sure about how their data is being managed and used.

The survey, which polled 3000 consumers, argues that while users are willing to trade value for trust, it is being done increasingly reluctantly – and companies who can solve the transparency issue are set to be welcomed with open arms.

When it comes to value, more than half (53%) of those polled say the IoT makes their lives more convenient, while efficiency (47%) and safety (34%) were also popular responses. On the flip side, only 9% of respondents say they completely trusted that their data was secure when collected and shared through IoT. A similarly meagre number (14%) added that companies do a good job of informing them about their data collecting habits.

Cisco argues that organisations should take three steps if they are concerned: establish a clear, concise data policy and share it with users; take granular control of data; and create accountability throughout the IoT value chain.

“As more companies build their businesses around IoT services, they need to first understand the importance of educating customers on how they are using their data to deliver new, valuable services that will enhance their lives,” said Macario Namie, Cisco head of IoT strategy in a statement. “Consumers are asking for more visibility into IoT data practices, and to increase transparency around your IoT data governance and management, you first need to be able to determine who gets what data, where and when.

“Today’s IoT platforms solve this problem and can give you the ability to enhance consumer confidence and trust, which can lead to greater adoption of your IoT services,” added Namie.

The research also gave interesting insights into consumers’ perceptions of the Internet of Things (IoT). While many in the industry will be aware of how street lighting and traffic systems will – if all goes to plan – be connected with each other, only 27% of respondents in the Cisco survey knew this; a number which pales compared to the 63% who were able to identify personal devices, such as wearables and home security systems, as IoT-related.

You can find out more about the study here (email required).

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The UK ranked top of ‘Government AI Readiness Index’

The UK has placed top of an index ranking the readiness of international governments for artificial intelligence.

Artificial intelligence requires government support to reach its potential. Oxford Insights conducted the research to determine which governments are more prepared to nurture AI’s potential.

“The UK is first in our rankings, reflecting its world-leading centres for AI research and strong technology industry,” say the researchers. “Although the UK has great starting conditions for AI development, it faces stiff competition from other countries seeking to be top of the global rankings.”

Oxford Insights are not alone in their warnings of the need for continued government support to reduce the risk of competitors overtaking. Just earlier this month, I reported on our sister publication IoT News of Microsoft’s belief “the UK can lead in AI, but the ‘window of opportunity’ is closing.”

In particular, Oxford Insights believe China, the US, Russia, and Canada are of particular threat — due to their ambitions to be world leaders in AI. The US is noted to do well due to tech clusters such as Silicon Valley, but a ‘stronger focus’ is required in areas such as digital skills training and data infrastructure.

The race towards AI superiority among the global superpowers has been likened to the nuclear arms race. This race is stoking fears that ethics may become a second thought and lead to dangerous scenarios; especially where AI is used for military purposes. On AI News, I recently highlighted the creation of a ‘Robot Ethics Charter’ designed to “regulate the relationship between humans and robots.”

Oxford Insights notes there is no clear geographical clustering in terms of AI readiness with leaders in the top five distributed around the globe. This indicates the expertise and conditions needed to capitalise on AI’s potential are not area-specific and even small governments may climb up the rankings with the right support.

Estonia’s e-government drive, for example, has “helped it to perform well on grass-roots indicators of innovation such as digital skills and AI startups.” The UK, meanwhile, recently announced £75 million will be set aside to boost AI development.

The top eight ranking countries in the ‘Government AI Readiness Index’ are:

  • United Kingdom

  • United States

  • Canada

  • Korea

  • Netherlands

  • France

  • Japan

  • Australia

You can find the full rankings here.

What are your thoughts on the AI readiness index? Let us know in the comments.

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Global IoT spending to hit $772 billion in 2018, says IDC

A new update released by the International Data Corporation (IDC) projected that spending on IoT globally will increase 14.6% year over year to $ 772.5 billion in 2018.

IDC’s “Worldwide Semiannual Internet of Things Spending Guide” has projected that IoT spending globally will increase at a CAGR of 14.4% through the 2017-2021, crossing the $ 1 trillion mark set for 2020 and touching the $ 1.1 trillion mark in 2021.

For 2018, IoT hardware will emerge as the biggest technology category followed by services, software and connectivity, IDC said. In the technology category, an amount of $ 239 billion will be dedicated largely toward modules and sensors in addition to infrastructure and security expenditure. In terms of software expenditure, application software will take the lead along with analytics software, IoT platforms, and security software. It is projected that software will be the fastest growing technology segment with a five-year CAGR of 16.1%.

Carrie MacGillivray, vice president, Internet of Things and mobility at IDC, said: "By 2021, more than 55% of spending on IoT projects will be for software and services. This is directly in line with results from IDC’s 2017 Global IoT Decision Maker Survey where organisations indicate that software and services are the key areas of focused investment for their IoT projects.

“Software creates the foundation upon which IoT applications and use cases can be realised. However, it is the services that help bring all the technology elements together to create a comprehensive solution that will benefit organisations and help them achieve a quicker time to value,” MacGillivray added.

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Qualcomm and BlackBerry extend connected car partnership

BlackBerry has announced the extension of its strategic partnership with Qualcomm to deliver ‘cutting-edge’ platforms for connected cars.

Patrick Little, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Automotive at Qualcomm, comments: "As innovation in the automotive industry accelerates it becomes necessary for industry leaders to work together to deliver leading-edge technology platforms that help to make vehicles safer, more connected, and increasingly autonomous,"

"Today we're building on our longstanding relationship with BlackBerry to develop automotive platforms that will accelerate the industry toward a more connected future."

Select hardware platforms from Qualcomm will be optimised for BlackBerry’s QNX software used for virtual cockpit controllers (VCC), telematics — including eCall and Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything (C-V2X) technology — electronic control gateways, digital instrument clusters and infotainment systems.

We aim to accelerate the delivery of the next generation platforms

The partners will also work together on ensuring BlackBerry over-the-air (OTA) software and BlackBerry Secure Credential Management (SCM) services are optimised for select Qualcomm Snapdragon modems.

"BlackBerry and Qualcomm Technologies have had a long-standing relationship for over a decade, collaborating on technologies that have revolutionized the way people live and work," said Sandeep Chennakeshu, President of BlackBerry Technology Solutions. "Today's announcement elevates our relationship as we aim to accelerate the delivery of the next generation platforms that connected vehicles will rely upon."

BlackBerry debuted its QNX Hypervisor 2.0 in June and Qualcomm was signed up to use it for digital cockpit applications in addition to its Snapdragon 820A automotive platform.

With the warnings of connected cars being targeted by hackers, BlackBerry could be well positioned to take advantage of concerns with its reputation for security. Partnering with Qualcomm, whose chips are expected to play a pivotal role in connected cars, should further help to ensure BlackBerry’s success in a market set for huge growth.

Today's partnership extension was made just a day after BlackBerry published security guidelines for connected cars.

What are your thoughts on Qualcomm and BlackBerry’s connected car partnership? Let us know in the comments.

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BlackBerry release guidelines to accelerate connected car security

BlackBerry is aiming to address connected car security concerns with a framework intended to harden them against cyber attacks.

Connected cars herald an era where you no longer just have to protect them from being physically broken into, but also hacked into. Compromised vehicles could pose a threat to safety through remote control, or be used to access sensitive data such as location.

I’ve covered hacks of connected cars on several occasions; including a Tesla being hacked for a second year by the same researchers. That case joined high-profile incidents with other leading automotive manufacturers including Jeep and Mitsubishi.

Like any computer, there will always be new vulnerabilities to be found and exploited. However, this should never be an excuse not to make them as secure as possible.

Connected car security guidelines

BlackBerry has a reputation for security and has created a recommended framework to guard connected cars against cyber threats. The guidelines are unlikely to make a vehicle immune to attacks but should help to reduce the prevalence of successful attempts.

"Protecting a car from cybersecurity threats requires a holistic approach," said Sandeep Chennakeshu, President of BlackBerry Technology Solutions. "Leveraging our experience as a leader in cybersecurity and embedded automotive software, BlackBerry has created a recommended framework to protect cars from cybersecurity threats."

Here’s a summary of the key points:

  • Secure the supply chain: Establish a root of trust by ensuring every chip and electronic control unit (ECU) in the automobile can be properly authenticated and loaded with trusted software, irrespective of vendor or manufacturer. Scan all software deployed for compliance to standards and required security posture. Conduct regular evaluations of the supply chain from a vulnerability and penetration testing perspective to ensure they are certified and "approved for delivery."

  • Use trusted components: Create a security architecture that is deeply layered in a defense in depth architecture, with secure hardware, software, and applications.

  • Employ isolation and trusted messaging: Use an electronic system architecture that isolates safety critical and non-safety critical ECUs and can also "run-safe" when anomalies are detected. Additionally, ensure all communication between the electronics in the automobile and the external world are trusted and secure. Further, ECU-to-ECU communication needs to be trusted and secure.

  • Conduct in-field health checks: Ensure all ECUs have integrated analytics and diagnostics software that can capture events, and are able to log and report the same to a cloud-based tool for further analysis and to initiate preventative actions. Moreover, automakers should confirm that a defined set of metrics can be scanned regularly when the car is in the field, as well as be able to take actions to address issues via secure over-the-air (OTA) software updates.

  • Create a rapid incident response network: Share common vulnerabilities and exposures among a network of subscribing enterprises so expert teams can learn from each other and provide advisories and fixes in shorter time frames.

  • Use a lifecycle management system: Proactively re-flash a vehicle with secure OTA software updates as soon as an issue is detected. Manage security credentials via active certificate management. Deploy unified endpoint policy management to manage applications downloaded over the lifetime of the car.

  • Make safety and security a part of the culture: Ensure every organisation involved in supplying auto electronics is trained in functional safety and security best practices to inculcate this culture within the organisation.

BlackBerry claims to either have, or are developing, solutions which help connected vehicle manufacturers to meet these guidelines. They’ll be demonstrating these during CES in Las Vegas next month.

The full whitepaper can be downloaded here.

What are your thoughts on BlackBerry’s connected car security guidelines? Let us know in the comments.

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