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The Internet of Things (IoT) is a network of physical devices, also known as "things", embedded with electronics, software and sensors enabling connectivity between other devices and services. This level of connectivity will bring automation to both consumer products and industrial solutions, such as a Smart Grid for electricity.
The Future of IoT Devices
According to a Gartner press release, by the year 2020 there will be 26 billion IoT devices but only 7.3 billion PC, smartphones and tablets. IoT devices will impact a wide range of areas. Some areas will be industry specific, such as automated manufacturing systems, while others will be generic systems such as HVAC, lighting, and security controls. By 2020, connectivity will be a standard feature for many products. However, enterprises are expected to utilize IoT devices before most consumers. The verticals leading the adoption of IoT devices are manufacturing, healthcare and insurance. New business models will be made possible with IoT devices in these fields. For example, insurers could offer usage-based insurance with premiums tied to real-time data from cars, buildings or factories.
In most industries, legal clarity is lacking for many technology trends. How should companies deal with an expanding risk surface from the growth of IoT devices? For example, with IoT devices in the medical field it will become difficult to ensure privacy is protected. While some IoT devices will not include personally identifiable data (PID), the difficulty of protecting IoT devices that do capture PID is substantial and a legitimate concern of the consumer. One need not look any further than the recent Anthem hack to understand the consequences of ignoring the risk of exposure.
The value of most information decreases over time and the older it becomes the more likely it is to be redundant, obsolete, trivial or stolen! For example, Anthem claims to have lost demographic data on former members that was at least 10 years old. If this data was 10 years old and included former members then it’s arguably obsolete. By removing old data, a company will reduce costs and improve decision making through increased confidence in its data. Read more about our 3 Easy Steps to Eliminate ROT – Redundant, Obsolete and Trivial Data.
Next generation information governance systems will simplify your IT landscape and cover the Steps to RIM Success. They will provide support for emerging technologies, such as IoT devices. A key component is a centralized place for the company to build policies and rules that work across all the different places data lives. As the volume of information stored rapidly increases, it is no longer feasible to move everything into one repository. As IoT devices mature, companies will likely continue creating records and information across many different systems.
It is difficult to make judgement calls about disposition and retention periods. Businesses can and should Let Legal Take the Wheel on Records and Information Management to ensure compliance. These decisions are supported by strong planning in advance and clearly defined responsibilities across teams. While daunting, the time to start is now! As technology advances, businesses need a solution to keep pace.