Ofcom outlines future plans for Internet of Things

Ofcom has published its future strategy detailing how the UK can have a leading role in the development of the Internet of Things.

At present there are over 40 million UK based devices that connect to the Internet of Things, and this number is expected to grow into the hundreds of millions by 2022.

Ofcom has said that it wants to collaborate with both the industry and government to create a suitable regulatory environment which will encourage investment and innovation with the Internet of Things.

The Internet of Things, where smart-devices wirelessly connect and interact with each other, will have the “potential for significant benefits to citizens and consumers”.

Steve Unger, Acting Ofcom Chief Executive, said: “The Internet of Things will bring benefits to a range of sectors and could change the way we live our lives.

As a result of this growth, we have listened closely to industry and want to develop a framework for this technology to evolve in a way which will ultimately benefit citizens and consumers.”

Ofcom has outlined its four key areas of focus to achieve its ambition of driving the Internet of Things:

  1. Spectrum availability will be crucial, Ofcom’s analysis indicates that in the short to medium-term there is sufficient spectrum available to support wireless device communication; however, looking forward there needs to be plans to identify when, where and how additional spectrum can be provided.
  2. Data privacy is key for individuals in the digital sector, but traditional approaches to data privacy may have limitations. Ofcom will work with the Information Commissioner’s Office, government, other regulators and industry to explore solutions to data privacy issues.
  3. Secure and reliable networks and data storage will become increasingly important. Ofcom will investigate how existing activities on security and resilience of the UK’s communications networks can be applied.
  4. Services will likely use bespoke addressing systems or addresses based on the internet standard known as IPv6, as such Ofcom will continue to monitor the progress already being made by internet service providers in supporting IPv6 connectivity.

Related reading