The State of the Net Today – Why we must Act now for its Future

At the Internet Society, we are worried about the state of the Internet today. This global “network of networks” is now a critical part of our daily lives. We use it to communicate and connect with our families, friends, co-workers and customers. It is the engine that powers the global economy. It is our source of entertainment, of education, and of information. The Internet brings so many opportunities to all.

But… those opportunities are now under attack from several threats:

  • Lack of trust – We now find ourselves asking key questions: how can we trust that the information we see online is accurate? How do we know we are communicating with the correct people?
  • Security of the core of the Internet – The core infrastructure that creates the network of networks is now under constant attacks. Botnets, DDoS attacks, routing attacks – the public core of the Internet needs protection.
  • The explosion of connected devices – We are connecting almost everything to the Internet, and this “Internet of Things (IoT)” is being largely connected with little concern for security.
  • The growing divide between the connected and unconnected – Over 40% of the world’s people are not connected to the Internet, and they are being left behind as the opportunities advance.

We must secure the Internet and raise the level of trust in the system if we are to make the same opportunities available to all. As Kathy Brown wrote in her Chatham House editorial last month, we need new tools and new models to solve these issues. And as we outlined in our “Paths to our Digital Future” global report, we must ensure that humanity is at the center of tomorrow’s Internet.

Earlier today in Washington, DC, I was privileged to speak at an outstanding meeting of people – the State of the Net 2018 event. The event’s agenda is a strong one and while obviously focused on the USA, the topics discussed are of global impact, now and far into the future. Discussing the complex issue of Internet Governance, I highlighted the need for governments and other stakeholders to go a step further in their commitment to the inclusive, multistakeholder model of governance and to begin implementing policies based on this thinking in their home countries. It’s time to bring this vision of governance to life and to demonstrate its clear value as a model for the future Internet.

We believe that the Internet of the future must be built on the values just like this that have defined its past. It must be an Internet that is open, globally-connected, secure and trustworthy. It needs everyone at the table. Expanding the inclusive model of governance to more places around the world is a central pillar in achieving this kind of Internet but there are many other ways to work towards this goal and while we can expect setbacks along the way, we at the Internet Society want to do more and work harder to influence the outcome.

The Internet holds enormous potential to empower, inform and bring unparalleled opportunity to people around the world. This is the vision of the Internet – an Internet for everyone – that guides our work, but whether it ultimately delivers on this promise in the future or not, is up to us. All of us, together.

I ask you to please read the links I’ve shared here, to watch and share the videos coming out of the SOTN event today, and most importantly … to ACT to shape the Internet of tomorrow.

Editor’s note: Sally’s panel session at the State of the Net 2018 event
can be viewed online:

Image credit: Joshua Earle on Unsplash

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Internet Society

Watch the “State of the Net 2018” Live on Monday, January 29

Internet governance, blockchain, algorithms, free speech, net neutrality, IoT, cybersecurity, fragmentation … and so much more!  On Monday, January 29, 2018, the State of the Net 2018 conference will be streaming live out of the Newseum in Washington DC. You can watch starting at 9:00am US EST (UTC-5) Monday morning at:

The SOTN 2018 agenda is packed with many of the leading voices in US Internet policy, including Senators, Representatives, and even an FCC Commissioner. Global organizations and corporations will be represented, too, among the many speakers.

At 11:00am EST, our own Sally Shipman Wentworth, VP of Global Policy Development, will participate in a panel, Internet Governance: Are We In A Post Multi-Stakeholder World?, along with Larry Strickling. Larry is perhaps best known recently for the IANA transition work but has been working with us on efforts to expand the use of the multistakeholder model for Internet governance. Others panelists will be Dr. Jovan Kurbalija from our partner the DiploFoundation; Steve DelBianco of NetChoice; and the Hon. Robert Strayer of the US State Department. The session will be moderated by Shane Tews from the Internet Education Foundation. The abstract is:

It will have been one year into the Trump Administration and it is time to take stock of the complex set of International arrangements that the Administration is dealing with. A new set of stages for these issues are fast approaching. World governments and international groups are jockeying for greater control over Internet functions and content. Confabs like the ITU 2018 Plenipotentiary Conference (PP-18) are just one of the many venues that will reveal the struggles for Internet domination. Complex trade deals and national regulations such as the NAFTA and the imminent European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will strain intergovernmental cooperation. Cyber security initiatives and law enforcement cross-border access to citizen data will test the sovereignty of nations. 2018 may be the most significant year in terms of Internet governance since the dawn of the Internet.

It should be a lively and interesting discussion! In preparation, we would encourage you to read our paper: Internet Governance – Why the Multistakeholder Approach Works.

All the sessions will be recorded for later viewing. You can also follow the #SOTN2018 hashtag on Twitter to see updates from the event.

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Internet Society

Thin film batteries set for solid (state) growth

Thin film batteries set for solid (state) growth

Smaller, lighter and with no risk of leakages or explosions, thin film batteries based on solid state components are increasingly important to low-power IoT devices. 

Thin film batteries power a whole bunch of ‘things’ in the IoT, including smart cards, wireless microsensors, RFID tags, toys and medical patches.

These batteries are typically built by depositing the components of the battery as thin films on a substrate – hence the name.

Because these components take the form of solid state materials, there’s none of the risk of leakages or explosions sometimes associated with other kinds of batteries. Think, for example, of batteries in the Samsung 7 smartphone, subject to a massive recall last year.

Read more: Brunel scientists develop flexible, wearable 3D-printed battery

Growing demand

Thin film batteries are popular with smart device manufacturers because they’re small and light, which makes them ideal for low-power applications – and demand for them is growing accordingly, according to a report published this week by Grand View Research.

Analysts at the firm reckon that the global thin film battery market will reach $ 1.72 billion by 2025, reflecting a compound annual growth rate of 27 percent from 2017 onwards, due in part to rapid adoption of wearables, a prime candidate for this kind of technology.

Sales of thin film batteries for wearables alone, for example, are expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 29 percent between 2017 and 2025. Other key sectors include smart cards and healthcare devices, which will collectively account for 29% of the market by 2025.

“Increasing demand for thin film batteries to power compact devices, coupled with improved safety, is a major driving factor for industry growth in wearables and medical applications,” say Grand View’s analysts.

As with many other battery technologies, miniaturization is a key theme here: most manufacturers are working on sub 1.5-volt thin film batteries for various applications. So is extending battery life. Key manufacturers in this market include Blue Spark Technologies, BrightVolt, Enfucell, ST Microelectronics, Cymbet, Imprint Energy, Ilika and LG Chem.

Read more: Metals shortages pose little risk to future battery production, MIT finds

Plenty of interest

There’s a great deal of interest around this area and many new kinds of thin film, solid state batteries look set to emerge. In October 2015, for example, UK-based consumer appliance company Dyson spent $ 90 million on acquiring Sakti3, a US-based start-up specializing in battery technology.

Sakti3 founder Anne Marie Sastry, now working at Dyson, has pioneered the development of Lithium ion (Li-ion) batteries that replace liquid electrolytes with thin films of solid-state material, to improve the energy density of a battery by two to three times.

Given James Dyson’s publicly stated ambitions in the clean automobile space, it’s likely that having a battery technology heavy-hitter like Sastry on board will be a major boost.

Our Battery and Energy Storage Show event is fast approaching. This will be held at The Slate at Warwick University campus on 28 & 29 November 2017. We hope you’ll join us there to look at this important subject in more depth – but in the meantime, here are some recent examples of our coverage in this area.

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Internet of Business

Golden State Foods (GSF) delivers transformation with IBM Watson IoT

Golden State Foods delivers transformation with IBM Watson IoT

IBM has announced it is working with Golden State Foods (GSF), a restaurant supplier with a fleet of over 2,000 delivery trucks, on IoT-focused business transformation projects. 

GSF is using IBM’s Watson IoT platform in two main ways: to improve fleet management and to create connected restaurants.

Many of the food products that GSF delivers to restaurants are perishable – the company produces around 400,000 hamburger patties per hour, for example. But delivery delays caused by breakdowns or scheduling issues could mean spoiled beef and disappointed diners.

By equipping its trucks with IoT sensors, they become easier to track and maintain. Sensor data collected and analysed using Watson IoT ensures that issues are detected and tackled before they cause bigger problems down the line. In addition, by combining wearable IoT devices and predictive analytics, GSF expects to improve driver safety.

Read more: French railway operator SNCF signs up IBM Watson IoT

Smart diners

A connected restaurant project, meanwhile, is seeing GSF customers use IBM’s Connected Store solutions to make their establishments smarter. Door hinge sensors, digital signage, shelf weight sensors and Wi-Fi tags, for example, collect valuable data that help managers understand energy consumption, manage their inventory and keep restaurants cleaner.

For example, temperature sensors in food storage facilities could trigger alerts if food reaches an unsafe temperature. And with data from occupancy sensors, heating and lighting can automatically be adjusted to reflect the fluctuations in need at peak times, and provide only what is needed.

Read more: ZMP CarriRo robot to deliver sushi in Japan

Finer points of business

“Innovation in the food service industry typically refers to creating new items on the menu, but GSF is taking that same spirit and applying it to the way restaurants can use technology to transform their operations and supply chain,” said Bob Wolpert, corporate senior vice president and president at GSF Logistics.

“IBM is giving us greater insights into the finer points of our business, from predicting exceptions to recommending the best course of action. It’s this level of knowledge that will allow us set the new standard for the food service industry.”

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Internet of Business

Golden State Foods and IBM Watson IoT set new standards in foodservice industry

At this year’s Genius of Things (GoT) event in Boston, IBM announced that we are working with Golden State Foods to embrace two big opportunities for growth and change in the food services industry. Golden State Foods are using Watson IoT to assist fleet management and safety for their 2,000+ trucks, and creating connected restaurants in over 125,000 locations.

To say that Golden State Foods operate on a large scale is something of an understatement. They are one of the largest diversified suppliers to the food service industry, servicing around 125,000 restaurants in over 60 countries from their 50 locations, and producing 400,000 hamburger patties per hour. Many of the restaurants they supply are quick serve and rely on speedy, safe and quality food production and delivery to meet their customers’ expectations.

Innovating with IoT and Blockchain

Innovation is something of a watch word for Golden State Foods. And for them, it means something very different from exotic menus, cocktails in jam jars and pickling unusual foodstuffs. Instead, it means adopting cutting-edge technology like IoT and Blockchain to optimize operations, drive efficiency and cut unnecessary costs.

When time is of the essence and operating scales are vast, the IoT can add tremendous value. Golden State Foods is using insights from connected things to improve the management and safety of its 2,000+ trucks, to ensure that its customers receive their food supplies on time and in top condition.

A Golden State Foods truck

A Golden State Foods truck

Transporting perishable materials such as raw beef comes with its own set of challenges. Delivery delays caused by broken down vehicles or scheduling flaws mean spoiled produce and disappointed restaurants. When these vehicles are IoT-enabled, however, they become easier to track and maintain. Sensor data collected and analysed by the Watson IoT Platform ensures that issues are automatically reported and addressed before they can cause bigger problems down the line.

The supply chain has a big part to play here, too. To achieve operational efficiency, Golden State Foods are using IBM Blockchain to create visible, secure and immutable ledgers, that can be viewed by individual stakeholders, improving visibility and accountability for all parties. This in turn means fresher ingredients, improved food safety and fewer operational costs – all benefits that are passed on to Golden State Foods’ customers.

IoT for Retail: the Connected Restaurant project

Away from the supply chain, there are other, more ‘front-of-house’ opportunities to connect and evolve – in the restaurants themselves, for example. The Connected Restaurant project is using IBM’s Connected Store solutions to revolutionize the way Golden State Foods’ customers run their restaurants. Door hinge sensors, digital signage, shelf weight sensors, gesture recognition and Wi-Fi tags collect valuable data that help managers understand how their restaurants consume energy, manage inventory, and even keep clean – and help them identify ways to do those things better. For example, temperature sensors in food storage facilities could trigger alerts if food reaches an unsafe temperature, to prevent spoilage. And with data from occupancy sensors, heating and lighting can automatically be adjusted to reflect the fluctuations in need at peak times, and provide only what is needed.

With more insights into how the restaurants operate, managers have the information they need to improve operational efficiency – automating some processes and managing others remotely.

From fresher ingredients to reduced costs, Golden State Foods are helping their clients deliver fast, effective service and great food to anyone who has grabbed a bite on the run.

Learn more

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