In order to unlock the "staggering" potential of the Internet of Things (IoT), effort must be made to deal with the "ever-real" security challenges that come with it, according to a new industry body that aims to ensure internet-connected devices are safe.
The Internet of Things Security Foundation (IoTSF) has welcomed the support of more than 30 technology companies, including Vodafone, BT and Intel – all of whom have a vested interest in ensuring the IoT is not held back by security and privacy concerns.
The opportunities spawned from the development of IoT are obvious, with Gartner estimating that smart cities will use 1.1 billion connected "things" this year, rising to 9.7 billion by 2020.
The IoTSF was keen to make clear, however, that it is not aiming to become a standards body, but a platform for collaboration with existing standards and other bodies, taking a system-wide perspective on IoT security best practice.
"There are a great many possibilities for businesses in all sectors including manufacturing, transport, health, home, consumer and public services," said IoTSF director John Moor from industry group NMI, which represents the UK electronic systems industry and technology sector.
"However, there are ever-real security challenges that accompany those opportunities. It is vital to the adoption of existing and new systems that security is addressed from the start, that it is fit for purpose and it can be managed over the lifecycle of the system."
Professor Ben Azvine, global head of security research and innovation at BT said improving the security of IoT is not only beneficial to consumers, but suppliers and businesses too.
He explained how it will help accelerate adoption of the technology, as well as protect privacy and confidentiality of information.
Robin Duke-Woolley, CEO of technology market analyst firm Beecham Research that specialises in IoT security, added that recent high profile cyber attacks have spelled out the need to prioritise security, which will allow the "rapidly growing" IoT to flourish.