The Internet of Things, or IoT, is in the works to interconnect billions of devices and ordinary objects, giving people the ability to track and communicate with just about anything. But what does this mean for how individuals will navigate the world, share information, and, more important, protect their privacy and security? To explore these and other questions, IEEE is hosting its first World Forum on Internet of Things from 6 to 8 March in Seoul, South Korea.
The Internet of Things touches just about everything,” says Harold Tepper, senior program director for IEEE’s Future Directions Committee. “From a technology standpoint, IoT involves a broad range of industries, including but not limited to consumer electronics, power and energy, and transportation.”
According to Tepper, the location of IEEE’s flagship IoT conference, which will bring together members from across societies and areas of interest, was chosen because South Korea is ahead of the curve when it comes to being connected. “Songdo, which is just two hours southwest of Seoul, is a great example of a modern-day smart city that incorporates IoT applications in its buildings and infrastructure,” he says. These smart cities are designed to use sensors to compile and relay information to companies, hospitals and emergency centers, and residents in a moment’s notice. Songdo, for example, uses sensors to monitor energy use and clean water, as well as traffic flow to alert residents of delays and accidents. The sensors can even alert an ambulance and the police when an accident occurs on the road.
Conference organizers are expecting about 200 attendees from academia, government, and industry, as well as professional engineers. Presentations will cover IoT applications and services, and their impact on society.
The conference will have three keynote speakers, including IEEE Fellow Chung-Sheng Li, director of the commercial systems department at IBM, who will cover how related industries from different parts of the world can come together to help “orchestrate” a smarter planet. The other keynote speakers are IEEE Member Kyungwhoon Cheun, senior vice president of Samsung, and Member Vida Ilderem, vice president of Intel Labs.
On the second day there will be a two-hour panel session on the impact of the IoT on smart cities. Several companies will send representatives, including the Alexandra Institute, a cloud computing company in Aarhus, Denmark, and Telecom Italia, in Rome. The IEEE Standards Association will also hold a full-day presentation on IoT-related standards, including ones that that are currently under development.
In addition, several tutorial workshops will be held, including one on IoT application architecture and research, led by IEEE Senior Member Roch H. Glitho, an associate professor and research chair at Concordia University, in Montreal. A second workshop will cover the convergence of social networks and IoT, focusing on the opportunities and challenges. It will be presented by IEEE senior members Antonio Iera and Luigi Atzorim, and Member Giacomo Morabito, each a professor of electrical engineering at the University of Reggio Calabria, in Italy.
A third workshop will focus on cognitive and open architecture models. It will be led by three IEEE members: Abdur Rahim, a technical group leader from Create-Net, a scientific research and funding organization in Trento, Italy; Michael Koster from Open Source Internet of Things, a Silicon Valley organization that develops and promotes royalty-free open-source standards; and Senior Member Klaus Moessner, a professor of engineering at the University of Surrey, in England.
There will also be a session on IoT service platforms—architectures that enable the development of the IoT, including data management and security systems—and related international standards, presented by Senior Member Fuchun Joseph Lin from the National Chiao Tung University, in Taiwan, and Member Ming Lai from Applied Communication Sciences, an information and communications technology research and consulting company, based in Basking Ridge, N.J.
One of the key themes running through the sessions will be on the social impact of the IoT. “Technology often has unintended consequences,” says Tepper. “There are issues of privacy and trust, as well as how the IoT will impact the economy or change education. Presenters will attempt to address these issues.”
The conference will also address what individuals will do with so much data at their fingertips. With the IoT leading to smarter homes, homeowners will be able to view a plethora of data, not the least of which will be charts on how much water and electricity they consume. It could all result in information overload, Tepper says. “What are people going to do with all that data? How can that data be distilled for an individual to understand and act upon?
“What I’m looking forward to most is the dialogue about the practical uses of the Internet of Things,” he continues. “I hope speakers step away from the theoretical and discuss what the applications and implications are of the Internet of Things, and how those involved in academia, the industry, and government address people’s concerns about what’s to come.”
Be sure to read our March special issue on The Internet of Things.