by Edward Qualtrough

Internet of Things needs government push, says BT CIO

Sep 18, 20143 mins
GovernmentIT StrategyNetworking Devices

The government needs to do more to articulate the business case for the Internet of Things in order to publicise its benefits, according to BT CIO Clive Selley.

Selley was discussing the hyper-connectivity of devices and smart cities at the Science Museum in London with ARM CEO Simon Segars as part of the ARM Forum, an event where Minister for Culture, Communications and the Creative Industries Ed Vaizey described the Internet of Things as a “politician’s dream – not just for the digital economy, but for all sectors”.

Selley, CIO ofBT since April 2010 who discussed IoT in a CIO profile in December 2013, said that while he was encouraged by its technological progress, IoT needed a marketing boost from the government.

IoT business case

He asked: “How does the government articulate the business case enough to espouse and publicise the benefits of the Internet of Things?

“With an ageing population there is a huge role helping people live in their homes for longer in an IoT world, in a scenario which is safely monitored.

“I’m very encouraged by what I what see with smart cities and sustainable environments, particularly in a place like Milton Keynes where so many initiatives are coalescing in one place. Once they get traction and publicity, it could be a catalyst for take-off.”

One of the most unique deployments BT was involved in, Selley quipped, was an Internet of Cows programme monitoring rare breeds for National Trust farms.

“We monitor their location – it’s purely based on physical security since they get stolen, but it is an IoT application,” he said.

Segars of ARM said that while IoT was “arguably in its hype phase” the numbers of real deployments are increasing, from consumer devices to the business applications helping organisations become more efficient.

IoT privacy and security

However, Segars said, the IoT network needs to be a truly open place driven by standards with “privacy and security two very important areas which need to be addressed”.

“It’s crucial that consumers own their own data,” Segars said. “And it’s important to note that all data is not equal; there will have to be different privacy constraints on different types of data.”

Despite these concerns, once they are overcome Segars and Selley shared the view of what IoT can offer.

“We’re only really scratching the surface of what IoT can become,” Segars said. “There are massive benefits for businesses and society at large.

“These technology solutions aren’t difficult and there’s a lot of savings to be had. The opportunity is there to do and I think the need will become more acute over time.”