Telstra buys MTData to boost connected vehicle offering


By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Wednesday, 01 November, 2017


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Telstra has arranged to acquire Australian GPS telematics and fleet management solutions company MTData to bolster the company’s connected vehicle IoT offering.

MTData was founded in 2003 and serves fleets in a variety of industries, including the transport and logistics, mining, oil and gas, service, waste management and concrete sectors.

In a blog post, Telstra Executive Director of Global Products Michelle Bendschneider said MTData technology will become a key plank of the company’s connected vehicle offering, delivered over the IoT footprint of its extensive mobile network.

“MTData will bring fresh expertise to our business, including the technical know-how and software expertise to help fast-track our Enterprise Connected Vehicle offerings. It’s part of our goal to build out our IoT ecosystem for our customers,” she said.

“It also supports Telstra’s focus on being a leading provider of innovative technology solutions for customers in Australia and globally.”

In future the addition of the MTData team could further bolster Telstra’s IoT portfolio, Bendschneider added.

But Telstra’s IoT ambitions could be hampered by a lack of confidence in IoT device security. A recent Gemalto survey has indicated that there is strong concern among both Australian businesses and consumers in this regard.

The survey found that nine in 10 consumers lack confidence in the security of IoT devices. Top concerns include hackers remotely controlling IoT devices (65%) or data theft (60%).

These worries were validated by the recent disclosure of a security flaw in SmarThinq that could have been exploited by hackers to spy on owners through cameras in robot vacuum cleaners or remotely switch smart fridges and ovens on or off.

The vast majority of organisations (96%) and consumers (90%) accordingly believe that there is a need for IoT security regulations, with more than two-thirds of consumers and nearly 80% of organisations supporting governments getting involved.

Yet Australian IoT device manufacturers are spending less of their total budgets on security than their global counterparts, 3% don't encrypt any of the data captured and stored on IoT devices, and 24% only encrypt personal information.

Another reason for the low confidence is that while 54% of consumers own at least one IoT device, only 14% believe they are thoroughly informed of the security of the devices.

“It’s clear that both consumers and businesses have serious concerns around IoT security and little confidence that IoT service providers and device manufacturers will be able to protect IoT devices and more importantly, the integrity of the data created, stored and transmitted by these devices,” Gemalto CTO for Data Protection Jason Hart said.

“With legislation like GDPR showing that governments are beginning to recognise the threats and long-lasting damage cyber attacks can have on everyday lives, they now need to step up when it comes to IoT security. Until there is confidence in IoT amongst businesses and consumers, it won’t see mainstream adoption.”

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/BillionPhotos.com

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