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The next, more mature stage of the connectivity will be powered by three key elements: the internet of things, machine learning and 5G. The constant growth of online services and internet of things (IoT) devices generate massive amounts of data, which can be sorted via machine learning algorithms. 5G connectivity accelerates the data transfer and allows the process to scale even further.
Unfortunately, digital transformation won’t reach its potential unless consumers can trust that all of the data they generate through their devices is private and safe. Many companies today are doing a poor job addressing this need. Here’s why I believe that trust is the key component that unlocks the potential of this new technology.
Two Sides Of The Connectivity
Today, advanced connectivity is both valuable and risky. While it’s convenient to use smart home devices, they are vulnerable to cyber threats and may even be recording you without your knowledge. Social media is a great tool to connect — until your data gets harvested by third parties. Web tracking tools are supposed to personalize the experience, but they are often used to display advertisements instead.
A recent Eurobarometer study revealed that 87% of Europeans surveyed avoid disclosing personal information online. Last year, my company surveyed a representative sample of 2,600 smart homeowners. We found that 87.3% were “highly concerned” about losing personal and contact information, while 77.5% worry about unauthorized remote access to their connected devices.
Despite the awareness, more than 2.2 billion user records have already been breached due to a combination of reckless data security by enterprises and lack of personal cybersecurity efforts by users. That includes social security numbers, driver’s license numbers and other personal and financial information. The lack of cybersecurity and privacy is a huge risk for digital transformation.
The Internet Of Tomorrow
IoT, artificial intelligence (AI) and 5G are the pillars that lead digital transformation. Connected things simplify our daily lives, but only if we can trust that they will not be collecting and sharing user information. Machine learning and AI will be able to offer eligible predictions and improvements only after we can trust that they will not be biased or unethical.
5G will help us connect faster and will help to advance smart cities, wearables and biotech. Without proper supervision and transparency, this new connected world could easily turn into a dystopia — but if we’re all able to trust this new technology, we will accelerate progress.
According to the Global RepTrack 100 annual survey in 2018, many companies are experiencing a decline in reputation. Still, every company can champion trust. Here are a few ways to do it:
• Stand up for a cause.
Clearly define your mission and seek to follow it every day. When your customers and employees are invested in your vision, they will help you to stay true to the bigger picture.
• Go open source.
Do not be afraid to share in-depth expertise with your industry. Everyone can write articles about technology, but not everyone has the courage to show how exactly you achieve these results. Leaders do not shy away from a responsibility to build a better future. When your cause is ambitious and your solution has the potential to improve millions of lives, share it. A great example is Tesla, which shared all of its patents back in 2014. If you do not feel it’s the right thing for your company at this point, you can start by joining an open-source community.
• Include external experts.
Work hard to receive relevant certifications and seek to be reviewed in industry reports that test your technology and can vouch for it afterward. Attend industry events where anyone can challenge your insights. You must first earn trust in your industry and grow your reputation from there.
• Create a transparent data-handling policy.
Preventing cybercrime is one of the most pressing issues today. Protecting user data should be a priority to every company, no matter the industry. Your customers trust you to be responsible and properly secure their information. Make sure to rise to the challenge and implement necessary security and privacy tools. Be clear why, when and for what reason are you collecting their data.
In the end, it all boils down to carefully integrating transparency, security and privacy into the core of the company. Cybersecurity is more than a feature. It’s a strategic element that helps to bring trust back to the daily connections. It’s also the differentiating factor between a leading company and the one that does not manage to stand out in a competitive environment.
May 23, 2019 at 07:05AM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs