Managing Risk for the Internet of Things

The term Internet of Things (IoT) was first used in the 1990s to describe networked devices with computing power and Internet addresses. Like so many Internet predictions, the idea of an IoT was premature; but by 2008, machines outnumbered people as Internet “users.” These machines connect wirelessly, take action, and create data. IoT devices will perform progressively more functions, more efficiently and cheaper than nonnetworked devices. 

Dire warnings about the perils of IoT are easy to find. But these warnings misconstrue the nature of risk and the incremental innovation processes that make technologies safer. This new application of digital network technology raises many policy challenges, ranging from spectrum management to privacy, data localization, and employment. It will take years to develop the policy frameworks necessary to safely maximize IoT’s benefits. This report looks at risk and how we measure it, as a way to guide the development of policy.

James Andrew Lewis
Senior Vice President; Pritzker Chair; and Director, Strategic Technologies Program