The University of Southampton

Southampton professors feature in The Royal Society conference on the Internet of Things

Published: 
4 October 2017
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Image: courtesy of Frode Hegland, The Liquid Information Company

Renowned experts in Electronics and Computer Science from the University of Southampton have outlined the disruptive potential of the emerging Internet of Things (IoT) as part of The Royal Society’s Transforming our Future conference series. Professor Dame Wendy Hall and Professor Bashir Al-Hashimi addressed an audience of industry leaders, policymakers and academics at the influential Internet of Things: Opportunities and Threats event in London on Tuesday, 3 October.

The conference, part of a series exploring the next decade’s major scientific and technical challenges, highlighted the huge growth of interest in IoT technology with its wealth of emerging applications while underlining its potential to increase productivity and change lifestyles.

Speakers at Tuesday’s event outlined key issues that pose a challenge to the translation and adoption of IoT technology, including security, economic, ethical and legal matters.

Dame Wendy, a Regius Professor in Computer Science and Director of the Web Science Institute, says, “I was thrilled to be asked by The Royal Society to organise this discussion meeting on the IoT. It is very timely as IoT devices begin to hit the high streets and are increasingly utilised by industry. It is clear that there are both opportunities and threats from this emergent technology but teasing out how we make the most of the opportunities whilst mitigating the threats is incredibly complex.”

She adds, “We addressed this issue from the perspective of four different panels and a very diverse set of panellists drawn from both industry and academia. The result was a set of very lively discussions which will be summarised in a report that we hope will have a significant impact in this space.”

Dame Wendy chaired the conference’s Technology session, which included a presentation and panel discussion with Southampton’s Dean of Physical Sciences and Engineering Arm Professor Bashir Al-Hashimi. His talk covered recent developments in hardware and energy management software that underpin the realisation of the vision of self-powered IoT devices.

Bashir explains, “The advances from work carried out with colleagues at Arm Cambridge at the Arm-ECS Research Centre are leading to an environmentally-friendly IoT electronic infrastructure, together with small energy sources critical for many IoT applications.”

He adds, “Designers and users of IoT devices need to be conscious of the cost of energy used to sense, process and communicate data, since not only the size of data matters but also its quality.”

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