Ulmart, Russia’s leading online retailer, has brought together a number of top international and Russian experts at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) to discuss ways of how to make the Internet of Things (IoT), one of the hottest concepts of today’s tech world, work effectively for the benefit of all market participants.
The panellists of ‘Internet of Things: Overcoming Obstacles’, a designated session organised by Ulmart and the Roscongress Foundation and moderated by Mike Butcher, Editor-at-Large of TechCrunch, agreed that the interconnection of products will soon become an integral part of our daily lives and the global economy. However, they admitted that there are a number of obstacles that may prevent the Internet of Things from flourishing and benefiting the consumer and businesses alike.
Dmitry Kostygin, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Ulmart, commented: “It is no doubt that the Internet of Things is the future, with its own risks and benefits. We can call the concept the ‘Things of Internet’ as fewer and fewer items remain non-digitalized nowadays. Ulmart as one of the pioneers of the digital revolution in Russia and a market leader in the country’s e-commerce sector understands that with vast opportunity comes strict responsibility. Technology is evolving faster than any legal and moral frameworks that would be required to manage it, and we need to be able to use Big Data and other tools effectively to protect the consumer while focusing on further growth potential.”
“In ten years the Internet of Things may create a market that would be the size of China’s economy, with the commercial segment accounting for two thirds of its value.” said Vladimir Cernavskis , Partner, Head of Telecom, Media and Technology Practice in Russia , McKinsey & Company.
“The Internet of Things is much more than just the communication of things. It combines technology and platforms that ensure the collection and storage of information. It is realistic to develop the Internet of Things without waiting for a specific standard to be developed, simply by adjusting technology to customer needs,” said Andrey Kuzyaev, President and Chairman of the Management Board, Member of the Board of Directors, ER-Telecom Holding.
“Devices are fast and smart, and artificial intelligence is developing quickly, so it is possible that devices will create their own protocol and language,” commented Mark Gazit , CEO of ThetaRay.
Cybersecurity, regulation and lack of consumer education were named the key challenges for the successful growth of the IoT. A number of technological and operational barriers will also need to be eliminated to ensure smooth integration and interconnection of things, according to the panelists.
“People use the Internet, social media and electronic payment systems without the fear of a hacker attack because the opportunities are often greater than the risks. It is important to start educating people about cybersecurity. When devices start talking to each other, the vulnerability is not in the devices, it’s with the human beings that use them,” noted Mike Butcher .
“The moral and legal issues revolving around the IoT perhaps don’t seem so obvious today, in 2017, but in the next five-seven years we will be so deep into the IoT that it will be too late to act. We must at least begin now by asking these questions,” commented Brian Kean , Chief International Officer of Ulmart.
“There are issues related to the security of data, cyberattacks and privacy of communication, while the consumer is not necessarily informed of potential risks,” said Irmgard Glasmacher , Managing Director, Lead of Accenture Strategy in Middle East , Africa , Russia , Turkey .
“It is important to be able to properly analyze and use Big Data, as well as ensuring the technical compatibility of devices to develop the full potential of the Internet of Things,” commented Vladimir Cernavskis . “Devices need to be able to speak the same language with each other.”
“As a user of Internet systems, I provide my data to such systems and am no longer able to control it. People need to be educated about cybersecurity and new technology as early as at school,” said Sven Wagenknecht , Editor-in-Chief, BTC-ECHO.
“I believe that only evolution will help provide an adequate level of cybersecurity,” said Andrey Kuzyaev. “Excessive regulation can stop the Internet of Things from developing, therefore ensuring proper balance between security and progress is key. Humans and computers need to be trained to communicate effectively with each other.”
Ulmart is Russia’s largest privately held Internet company specializing in e-commerce. The company was founded in 2008, and its headquarters are located in St. Petersburg. Ulmart has over 450 infrastructure facilities (fulfilment centres and pick-up points) in more than 240 cities and towns across Russia.