Privacy protection crucial for IoT success: DT chief

John C. Tanner
26 Feb 2014

The Internet of Things promises much, but its success depends heavily on a more transparent and harmonized approach to privacy issues.

That was the message delivered by Deutsche Telekom chief Timotheus Höttges during the morning keynotes at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Tuesday.

Höttges said a solid and consistent regulatory framework is needed to define how IoT services are implemented, particularly in regards to handling of personal data.

“We need harmonization of data protection laws, and we need standards for privacy and security and ethical practices,” he said. “We need a common understanding of how we deal with each other, and give trust to the customer.”

The concept of the Internet of Things and the possible services it enables – connected homes, connected cars, healthcare services, etc – are a great revenue opportunity for the telecom sector.

NTT DoCoMo CEO Kaoru Kato said that new business revenues from IoT-related services are estimated to be $7 billion at the end of FY2013. “Our target is $10 billion by 2015.”

Höttges agreed that there is a lot of revenue potential in IoT. “It is estimated to be a $500 billion market, but I think any forecast is too conservative.”

But because “big data” is a major component of the IoT paradigm, he said, privacy is a major issue that has to be addressed up front, especially in light of current events.

“Because of the NSA/Snowden affair, customers are more sensitized about security and privacy,” he said.

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