IoT_and_Identity_Management.jpgSudha Jamthe is the CEO of IoT Disruptions, Stanford CSP IoT instructor and the author of IoT Disruptions 2020, which focuses on innovations at the junction of the Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI). She shares her ongoing research and thought leadership at iotdisruptions.com and her weekly IoT Show.

UnboundID: Tell us about some of the latest technological developments in the field of IoT?

Jamthe: First let me describe IoT because it covers a broad set of technologies. We have IoT for consumers like wearables, IoT for the home such as the Nest thermometer, IoT conncecting our vehicles and IoT for cities to manage traffic lights, parking and all kinds of other services. Then there is industrial IoT, which is where the money is being made today. There are technology innovations happening in all areas of IoT, some gaining adoption more quickly than others.

Two key innovation areas of IoT which I am excited about are autonomous machines and digital health. IoT is driving the next wave of autonomous machines, which includes self-driving cars, robots and drones. A robotics company called Matternet has developed a drone logistics network for deliveries in rugged terrains and another called Zipline is offering drones that carry medicines to inaccessible areas in Rwanda.

Digital health is an area ripe with innovation. IoT is bringing smart pills such as Protheus that when swallowed can collect data and imagery about the body. There are nanobots being tested that can swim inside our body to find and potentially kill cancer cells. Pacemakers are now Wi-Fi enabled. All these innovations are in pilot to prolong and save lives and improve healthcare quality and costs.

UnboundID: Do people need to worry about these technologies?

Jamthe: People need to embrace these new technologies with the awareness that all IoT devices collect data about users and can be used for good or bad. For marketers, these devices are helpful because they collect data about customer behavior, such as wearables that track a user’s daily exercise habits. You can combine that data point with another data point, such as the user’s sleep patterns. A company might be able to make a connection, such as how does exercise help with sleep and mood? All of these insights can generate product and marketing opportunities. But there’s a fine line with privacy. Shoes are starting to come with sensors in them which could alert you when the soles are wearing out, or give feedback on your gait. Yet the shoe is also tracking all of your movements.

Insurance companies are now offering their customers devices that can be installed in a car which track your driving habits like speed. If you are a good driver, you might get a better rate on your insurance. Technology is available today, although not yet in commercial use, which could sense a driver’s moods or health status. You can imagine the value in a sensor that could alert someone that the driver is in distress, such as from a heart attack. That’s potentially life saving, but we as consumers don’t know how all this data is being used for other purposes. This is where we need to worry and ask questions. Active engagement by early users will help shape the usage of IoT data and set boundaries which are acceptable to us.

UnboundID: What are some of the identity management challenges in deploying IoT technologies for consumers?

Jamthe: A lot of companies are looking at this primarily from a security standpoint, but they do not get the nuances of what it means to create an identity platform for IoT. Companies want to know us in a good sense to help us, and give us offers that we may want. If privacy is addressed, and a consumer knows how their data is being used, she might be willing to share her information for marketing purposes. Identity management technology can put all of this IoT data from machines and sensors to use, with the permission of the user. Today, IoT data from multiple sensors is scattered and not being used to its full potential. The challenge is that data is coming from many different sources and is therefore in different formats, making it hard to compare apples to apples. An identity management platform can bring a lot of value if it can correlate the data and connect the dots for an individual, and then create a layer of privacy and permission and management.