What will change in 2018? What should companies do to exploit it? What new legal issues will arise and how shall they be tackled?

Below are my personal top 5 predictions on the legal issues that will affect the Internet of Things in 2018.

1. Data will exponentially become a business asset and force companies to change their model of business

I am noticing that companies are increasing the level of awareness of data as a business asset and of the advantages that they can gain from them. This leads to a change in their model of business that will be oriented at collecting as much data as possible switching

  • from a model of business based on the sale of products where there is a one-off relationship with customers,
  • to a model of business based on the sale of services where a long term relationship is established and a continue flow of data is exchanged with customers.

This shift is the backbone of the Internet of Things and unveils new legal issues in terms of privacy compliance, Cybersecurity, product and contractual liability as well as tax and antitrust to which companies are not ready since they are completely new to them.

2. The Internet of Things will be fast-tracked by Fintech also thanks to the PSD2

Traditional banks are in a crucial stage as they need to change a model of business that has been successful for the last centuries. Such change will be speeded up by the implementation of the Payment Services Directive 2 that will, among others, oblige banks to open their APIs to Fintech companies in order to enable them to provide services to their customers.

I discussed in this blog post about how the Internet of Things will change the financial services sector. The change that I consider more fascinating is about how banks might become a marketplace of data opening up an entirely new line of business.

3. Only those that will properly manage privacy compliance will be able to exploit IoT data

The EU General Data Protection Regulation will become binding with effect from the 25th of May 2018 with his extremely large sanctions and with burdensome obligations which will force companies to change their organization and technical infrastructure. Companies that will not invest on their privacy compliance, but only on their business (which is quite frequent!) risk to create a large infrastructure that might easily collapse. And if it is true that data will exponentially matter, such collapse might even put an end to the future of companies as they will be obliged to destroy collected data.

On the contrary, tools such as the privacy by design enable companies to quickly adapt their internal privacy compliance to changes required by new technologies, including those of the Internet of Things.

4. The value of data will lead to fights for its ownership

At the early stage of the IoT, companies were quite willing to grant to their suppliers the ability to exploit customers’ data generated by means of Internet of Things technologies in an anonymous format for the development of suppliers’ products and to provide services to the benefit of other suppliers’ customers.

But the increase in the awareness of data as a business asset is changing the approach of companies on data ownership. The suppliers’ ability of using customers’ data for other purposes will require that customers get something in return such as a considerable price saving or even a profit sharing.

5. Blockchain might be the key to ensure security of the Internet of Things

Cybersecurity has traditionally been considered one of the main weaknesses of IoT technologies. If Internet of Things devices coupled with artificial intelligence elements will control our lives, a potentially malfunctioning might lead to major negative consequences.

One of the main strengths of the blockchain is its high level of security and this why I believe that the exploitation of blockchain by IoT technologies might become a major resource which will also help to create a higher level of trust around these technologies

These are my top 5 Internet of Things predictions for 2018, what are yours?