Annie Thomas, TCS Financial Solutions

Back in 1999, Kevin Ashton, while working as an Assistant Brand Manager for Procter & Gamble, wondered why a certain cosmetic product always showed “out of stock” on grocery store shelves. This led him on to think of the possibility of a wireless network that could snatch data off a tiny “radio-enabled” chip on, say, a lipstick pack from a warehouse and keep store managers better informed about their inventory. He soon coined the term “Internet of Things” (IoT) and made a presentation about embedding everyday objects with sensors that were powered by the Internet.

Nearly two decades on, human kind hasn’t even begun utilizing IoT to its fullest potential, mainly due to two challenges – privacy and security. Technology has grown to gain insights from data in real time for business outcomes, yet human beings are apprehensive over breach of security and concerns over confidentiality, integrity, availability and most importantly, the abusive control of personal data. (Trust remains the business currency for the new-age consumer.)

IoT devices have permeated industries, from consumer products to manufacturing processes and public services; however, the banking domain remains at the cusp of influencing consumer financial behavior today. Who would have imagined the surge of the Quantified Self Movement fuelled by the IoT and wearables industry, collecting raw data continually on various vital parameters and churning them into meaningful insights related to consumer health and fitness, insurance claims processing or flexible interest rates? Many more autonomous banking related IoT use cases have been identified since, such as a cars making payments on user authorization or underwriting decisions influenced by IoT monitoring.

Cross-disciplinary functions seamlessly blend in an IoT-connected ecosystem. It is no paradox to state that the next big thing will actually be multiple, small heterogeneous “powered-things” without a visible user interface, that can handshake data and create a sensor-driven marketplace to drive decisions. Several vendors will offer devices at lower prices, driving the market; however, security and privacy discipline by IoT manufacturers and integrators will have to instil confidence and promote adoption of these ubiquitous devices in mass-market and niche segments. Understanding the threats involved should begin with a breadth- and depth-first approach that can create a security lock.

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