Internet of Things

     
       

Overview

Technology pioneer Kevin Ashton is widely credited with coining the phrase “Internet of Things” (IoT) to describe the connection of physical objects to the internet via sensors. Today, less than two decades after its introduction, billions of “things” – including wearables, medical devices, thermostats, cars, industrial products and even cities -- boast this level of connectivity, representing market revenue fast approaching $1 trillion. The potential for growth and significant transformative benefits is limitless. Whether dubbed the “Third Wave of the Internet” or the “Fourth Industrial Revolution,” there is no doubt that the IoT is a disruptive force − for good and for bad − gaining in ubiquity and creating myriad legal challenges.

Wilson Elser is at the forefront of helping clients navigate the risks and opportunities presented by the IoT. We recognize that this technology is prone to problems, whether unintended − with hardware, software or a sometimes fickle cloud to blame − or the intentional handiwork of “bad actors.” The weakest link in a chain of connected devices can bring down entire systems and generate limitless liability claims well beyond the scope of conventional insurance policies.

Whether dubbed the “Third Wave of the Internet” or the “Fourth Industrial Revolution,” there is no doubt that the IoT is a disruptive force − for good and for bad − gaining in ubiquity and creating myriad legal challenges.

We are familiar with the many related exposures confronting those leveraging the IoT or considering doing so. Given the large number of distinct but interrelated legal issues that this technology impacts, we take an integrated, multi-practice approach to help clients manage risk and address instances of mishaps or malfeasance should they occur. As appropriate, our IoT attorneys draw on the experience of Wilson Elser colleagues focused in firmwide practices, specifically Product Liability, e-Discovery, Data Privacy & Security, Commercial Services and Intellectual Property. These collaborations spawn innovative strategies specific to the matter at hand and are more likely to lead to successful resolutions.

We get involved at the beginning of the process when, in close collaboration with our clients, we’re able to anticipate and manage potential exposures. Risk management is integral to Wilson Elser’s heritage, remains among our greatest strengths and is of paramount importance in IoT-related products and services.

Along these same lines, we counsel clients on the intricate coverage issues associated with the IoT. These may involve coverage provisions that are unintentionally in place or whose absence are revealed by unforeseen events. When it helps advance our clients’ objectives, we involve one or more of our nearly 200 coverage attorneys who have the requisite experience to interpret even the most sophisticated policies and help mitigate the high-dollar exposure that can accompany them.

Given the scope and complexity of the IoT and related risks, it can be short-sighted to rely on legal counsel who dabble in this area as a sideline. Within our Information Governance practice are attorneys who are largely or singularly focused on IoT services and are ready and able to help you manage this brave, if uncertain, new world.