"We don't want to have a digital Wild West!" With this pointed statement, State Secretary Muna Duzdar opened the IoT Expert Congress 2017 and emphasized the need for a charter of digital fundamental rights in the European Union. Together with Austrian Standards Director Elisabeth Stampfl-Blaha she welcomed CEOs and managing directors as well as technology, security, data protection and marketing experts at the Austrian Standards Meeting Center in Vienna.
At the conference, top-class speakers outlined strategies against potential scenarios threatening vital infrastructure, described IoT applications in industry and discussed the status quo of standardization in this field. The event was moderated by Manfred Wöhrl, Vice-President of Digital Society Austria.
IoT on a fast track - thanks to standards
Austrian Standards Director Stampfl-Blaha explained that the Internet of Things only moved on one track - the fast one. Technologies developed exponentially, the networking of applications grew as fast as the number of cyberattacks. "Therefore standards are important pillars of successful development," said Stampfl-Blaha.
The panel discussion on "How much standards does IoT need?" underlined that standards played a key role when it came to ensuring that IT systems could be networked and were portable, efficient and secure in operations. Karl Grün of Austrian Standards and Richard Valenta of the Austrian Electrotechnical Association (OVE) described the status quo in standardization and future developments.
Potential and practical applications
Experts of AIT, SpaceTec and Austro Control focused on autonomous vehicles, satellite surveillance, networked drones and webcams. Facebook claimant Max Schrems, attorney Veronika Wolfbauer and Tobias Höllwarth of EuroCloud discussed issues of data protection.
Finally, enterprises, such as Hutchison Drei Austria (lead partner of the Expert Congress), Linz Strom, Hagleitner, NetApp and Crate, presented best-practice examples to illustrate how IoT, big data and cloud services contributed to developing new business models and to improving the efficiency of existing processes in manufacturing and administration.
Live hack demonstrated risks
During a live hack, specialists of the Austrian Internet of Things Network impressively showed how easy it was to take control of a Wi-Fi network and the devices connected to it. Thereby they clearly illustrated the risks resulting from millions of unsecured devices - from smartphones to webcams and "smart" cuddly toys - in the Internet of Things. Those risks and the question as to whether we were prepared for them were discussed in the final panel discussion led by journalist and author Ingrid Brodnig.
In conclusion, Stampfl-Blaha, Grün and Wöhrl stressed the enormous importance and manifold potentials of IoT in almost all spheres of human life and highlighted the importance of international co-ordination, in particular in standardization.
The Internet of Things, big data, cloud services as well as data privacy and the EU's new General Data Protection Regulation are topics addressed by numerous further events and publications of Austrian Standards in this field.