Rob van Kranenburg: So who is going to build a third party trust provider for Internet of Things?

Yesterday we had a short public meeting on IoT in Taipei, hosted by Jason Hsu and his team at MakerBar Taipei. The place was packed. We pulled the chairs into a circle and had a discussion with the attendants. The diversity was mind-blowing. There were people working as/in VC, Real Estate, Pharma, starting up a Biitcoin venture in Taiwan, front end web development, online gaming, educational technologies, aqua phonics, IT consultancy, automotive, supply chain management, and many other professions and professional interests.


We wondered what on earth brought us together over something as elusive as ‚Internet of Things’. Clearly it is the internet, but there is more to it then that. What is so powerful and so seducing to so many people with high end skills in particular domains that they could be brought together, whereas there is absolutely nothing else that could have made this kind of deep diversity visibly temporarily unified is actual space and time. IoT must be an ontological change, a paradigm shift in the way people are able to recognize each others skills and interests.


One of the key drivers is the deep need to share ideas and expertise quite openly. One of the key barriers are the current ways that most business and institutions operate, building frameworks on isolating data quite to the opposite of what is demanded in the flow of real time data streams that IoT presupposes offering people good feedback on their health and resources and bringing transparency to business models and processes of government. In the same way as your data are now handled by third party providers, meaning if you go to Amazon, Amazon also gets an insight into what you do on FB and Google and…., the key enabler to IoT seems to be a global third party trust provider that acts as a trusted broker between data coming from your Ban (Body Area Network), LAN ( home area network), WAN (Wide Area Network) and the VWAN (Very Wide Area Network: read your body (smart t-shirts), your home (smart meter), mobility (your car, bike, train; personal telematics) and the smart city (the city as a set of services).


Google is doing it. Trying to secure the flow in their gateways: Glasses, Powermeter, Car…and supporting open data projects in cities globally. And of course they have every right to do so. Still can they be that key third party trust provider globally? Maybe we should turn to look at who is gaining full support worldwide now for asking for more transparency and fairness in IoT and IT systems. What if the whistleblowers set up a company with all their knowledge and expertise and show us how it can be done? How we can make full use of IoT real time data streams and make them work against Climate Change, against spillage of resources (water leaks in cities, waisting of food worldwide, enticing people to share their moods and help each other through bad times (as there are now more people at home in the UK with mental issues then physical ones?), encouraging better decision making in conflicts based on raw data on the ground instead of the egos of so-called leaders? Well, I’d say we can give it a try.

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