Developers will play a fundamental role in the adoption of the internet of things, but must be aware of the security and privacy risks as billions of devices become connecte, said Intel’s internet of things (IoT) chief, Doug Davis.

Speaking at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco, Davis said that developers face a number of challenges in creating IoT-related services - such as around interoperability, manual provisioning of large numbers of devices, and particularly security.

“The fundamental gap that we hear from developers in creating solutions is that it is essential to be able to trust in the device as well as in the data that they generate,” he said. 

“You have to be able to know that the device you are using is secure and the data that it is delivering back to the data centre or cloud continues to be of high integrity throughout the lifecycle of that product.”

Data privacy is another area which must be at the forefront of developer’s mind as the IoT landscape matures.

“When you get into confidentiality and privacy a lot of it comes down to the manufacturer of the device itself, and their openness to ‘opt-in’ type scenarios for the consumer using those devices,” said IBM's vice president of WebSphere product managementMichael Curry. 

“So you really have to build it in at a technology layer, and then you have to build it in at a practice layer.”

Developer opportunity

Davis pointed to statistics which illustrate the size of the internet of things market, with 50 billion devices - from wearables to smart building sensors and connected cars - expected to be linked by 2020. This will generate 35 zettabytes of data and enabling $19 trillion of economic savings and be a multi-trillion market by the end of the decade, according to analysts estimates.

Achieving this level of connectivity will rely on an ecosystem of suppliers and developers that can create the a vast range of new software and hardware, said Davis.

“These are all big numbers, but the real reason to care about the internet of things is the impact it is going to have on our lives and the kind of things that you as developers can create by working together,” said Davis. 

“There are tremendous opportunities for developers - making us more efficient, making us safer, and allowing us to learn faster as we gain access to all of this information.”

Next section: Sparking innovation