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Internet of Everything: challenges and opportunities

Internet of Everything: challenges and opportunities 

Carlos Dominguez, senior VP, Cisco Systems, was at GTEC 2013 in Ottawa this past week to discuss the challenges these issues could pose to the public and private sector.

“How much information should people have [about us]? Who owns the data? We have a lot of issues like that that we need to wrestle through,” Dominguez said, adding that terms of service for things like Facebook and iTunes need to be clearer – particularly when the data being collected is related to our very biology.

“The role of privacy is that we really need to allow people to understand exactly what is being done,” he continued. “Secondly, we need to have the right to opt out, and government plays a very significant role in that.”

Dominguez and Kim Devooght, VP of Public Sector Canada, Cisco, also touched on the ways the Internet of Everything can benefit the public sector. Devooght cited the use of sensors on pipes in Washington DC’s sewage system to prevent pipe erosion or collapse. Using methods like this, sinkholes can be prevented and city resources can be allocated elsewhere.

“When you have sensors out there, you’ll be able to detect certain things,” Dominguez said. “That will have an impact on resources – when do you put the resources, and where? And on how you serve your citizens, how you protect them. All of these technologies will enable a lot more of that.”

Dominguez also discussed the issue of ethics, especially when it comes to emerging technologies like 3D printing. As these technologies become increasingly available to consumers, people will be able to create firearms and patented items in their very own homes. And in the field of medicine, researchers have already found ways to create organs and tissue that could one day be used for transplant.

Naturally, these developments bring with them all sorts of ethical dilemmas. How can the government control who has access to firearms if people are able to produce them in their own homes? What changes will need to be made to patent law? Domginuez suggested that the government must work with the private sector for legislation to keep up with technology.

“What I would love to see is someone, or a group, that brings [public servants] up to date [on the issues],” Dominguez said. “Maybe this could be a public-private partnership. Maybe the private sector should come in and work with governments: ‘Here are the technologies that are out there that you should pay attention to, and here are the potential implications.’

“We have to address these issues, and government plays a crucial role, education plays a crucial role… so the businesses that are playing with these technologies should be brought in to talk about them and for people to understand it.”

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