Communautés Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Internet of Things, Robotics and Smart Cities
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Communities Global Future Councils System Initiatives

Internet of Things, Robotics and Smart Cities

The Challenge 

There are more connected devices in the world today than humans. These devices, commonly known as the internet of things (IoT), come in infinite forms, from smart building technologies, which monitor and manage energy usage, to connected vehicles, which help anticipate and avoid potential collisions. By 2020, the number of IoT devices is projected to exceed 20 billion, fuelled by continued technological advances and the plummeting costs of computing, storage and connectivity. As IoT technologies continue to spread to all aspects of day-to-day life, and even become embedded in the human body, questions about data ownership, accuracy and privacy protection take on greater importance. Similarly, in an interconnected world where electric grids, public infrastructure, vehicles, homes and workplaces are capable of being accessed and controlled remotely, the vulnerability to cyber-attacks and the potential for these security breaches to cause serious harm are unprecedented.

The Opportunity

The Internet of Things, Robotics & Smart Cities portfolio partners with teams across the Forum to support the development of policy frameworks and government protocols that maximize the societal benefits of, and mitigate the risks from, these technologies. Governments, the private sector, civil society, academia and other stakeholders pilot these frameworks and protocols to test theories about impact, iterate based on lessons learned and then scale their adoption globally. Our work focuses on driving impact in five key areas: (1) safety and security; (2) privacy and trust; (3) system architecture and interoperability; (4) societal benefit and equity; and (5) economic viability of solutions.