By Frank Zeichner, Chief Executive Officer, IoT Alliance Australia

The application of IoT has already significantly affected people, society and workplaces, and we’re only in the early stages of adoption. By 2030, the value of the IoT is likely to hit the trillions. While IoT innovation can enable greateconomic, environmental and positive social change, there are also risks that it can reinforce biases, bad practices and even exclusion.

As technological disruption and innovation continue to change society and our environments in profound ways, how do we ensure those changes are for the better? And how do we collaborate to try to make sure that the value and benefits are distributed equitably?In other words, how do we do IoT for Good?

The scope of IoT for Good is enormous and could incorporate how IoT can affect:

♦ Environment Social Governance Goals (ESGs)
♦ The UN’s Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs)
♦ IoT product stewardship
♦ Ethics in the use of IoT
♦ Diversity and equity, access to training, tools and solutions that are affordable and relevant to the vulnerable in our communities
♦ The ‘digital divide’ – IoT that is designed to be inclusive
♦ Trust in the use of IoT from security, privacy and safety perspectives

Responsible digital transformation

In 2018, the World Economic Forum (WEF) concluded that most current IoT projects can contribute to achieving both the United Nations SDGs and ESGs. An analysis of more than 640 IoT deployments conducted in collaboration with IoT research firm, IoT Analytics, showed that 84 per cent of existing IoT deployments can address the SDGs.

The WEF has launched a program to help shape a sustainable, inclusive and trustworthy digital future and examines a number of these points. This program focuses on responsible digital transformation, fit-for-purpose informed governance, secure and resilient people, processes and practices, robust and interoperable digital ID for all and the benefits of data sharing while respecting privacy.

Defining what IoT for Good could look like in Australia and driving application of IoT in that direction is an opportunity to leverage its potential during a period of tremendous digital transformation. It’s also a chance for Australia to lead in areas such as water conservation, bushfire and flood management and virtual healthcare.

Importantly, defining IoT for Good will help ensure that we don’t just reinforce old practices, but use technology to improve social inclusion and create a better society for all.

As the peak body for IoT in Australia, Internet Alliance Australia (IoTAA) fosters socially responsible IoT innovation – IoT for Good. Its aim is to engage a broad range of business, government and community to ensure that we take a diverse and inclusive approach to what IoT for Good means in technology, industry and society. If you would like to submit a paper, get in touch with laura.hamilton@iot.org.au.

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