NCS3 Pilot Study - Beyond the Internet of Things


  • Vidar Hedtjärn Swaling
  • Fredrik Malmberg Andersson

Publish date: 2018-11-20

Report number: FOI-R--4643--SE

Pages: 39

Written in: Swedish


  • Internet of Things
  • future
  • scenarios
  • influence factors
  • ICS


The Internet of Things (IoT) is a concept used to describe how ever more objects are being equipped with the ability to be connected to the Internet and other networks. The Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency, MSB, has requested a futures study of IoT, with a specific focus on industrial information and control systems (ICS). The study identifies influence factors as a basis for creating scenarios on the future development of IoT. The ambition is to be able to see beyond the Internet of Things, through such questions as: Is it possible to discern a path of development where IoT will fail to be as dominant as has been so often predicted? Is it possible to see a pathway where the pendulum stops, and even swings back? What are the factors that govern the development of IoT? The work has resulted in a gross list of influence factors within the areas of politics and policy, economics, social life, technology, law, and environment. As the study proceeded, two essentially different pictures of the future became prominent. One is a "silo future", where the communication between various units is strictly procedural and primarily occurs within an organisation. The other is a "mesh future", where in principle any unit may communicate freely with any other. The former can be seen as representative of the industrial development path, whereas the latter more resembles today's IoT at the individual level. An important conclusion regarding IoT in the area of ICS is that the risks associated with it may increase, while the incentives for introducing smart products will have to keep thrashing it out against the - so far - even stronger incentives to maintain commercial integrity, avoid unforeseen costs, and protect third parties.