IoT – The New Frontier of Technology Convergence

by Charles Brooks, Featured Contributor

SIMPLY PUT, the Internet of Things (IoT) is the concept of connecting any device to the internet, from home appliances to wearable technology such as watches, to cars. These days, if a device can be turned on, it most likely can be connected to the internet. Because of the IoT, objects to objects, people to people and objects to people can communicate quickly and efficiently.

Network SocialImagine a world where your alarm clock notifies your coffee maker to start brewing when you wake up; or your car is communicating with other cars on the road, exchanging information about speed and position to reduce the number of accidents; or your office technology automatically orders supplies when they are low. Seems a little like The Jetsons, but this will soon be our reality – and in some cases, already is.

According to Gartner, there is expected to be nearly 26 billion networked devices on the IoT by 2020, giving any business, no matter the industry, access to endless amounts of vital, real-time data about their company and customers. Inside and outside the workplace, the IoT has the potential to change the way we work and live.

Just like many industries, government agencies are looking for ways to cut costs and become more efficient, and have realized the IoT is one way they can achieve productivity gains. Over the last five years, the federal government has spent more than $300 million on IoT-related research and Cisco estimates that the IoT will be valued at $4.6 trillion for the public sector in the next ten years.

So where are we seeing IoT adoption in the public sector?

An area that has shown promise and growth is public infrastructure and transportation. Opportunities abound within facilities management, grid and energy planning, and environmental impacts like waste management and water meters – with the IoT driving smart cities and smart urban mobility.

For example, smart parking applications are already informing citizens where the open parking spots are in a busy city, video and data analytics are helping cities identify how many passengers are in a vehicle for High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane compliance and cities are able to monitor and manage traffic and congestion.

The Internet of things is also revolutionizing mass transit including buses, subways and trains. The technology can track traffic data, driver performance and gas usage to cut costs and improve traffic routes for better service. Sensors on subways, railroad cars and buses can help monitor systems like temperature and fault warnings for a safer, more comfortable ride and can provide real-time information to passengers to warn them of the estimated arrival time on their mobile device. Buses can also get alerts from citizens to stop at a certain stop, at a certain time, and can cancel the stop when the traveler isn’t there. A truly connected and integrated transportation system made possible from the IoT is making transportation faster and safer for drivers and passengers.

The potential of the IoT for both the public and private sector is undeniable; however companies and agencies need to develop plans and prepare their workers for its implications in order to harness the value of the technology. And here’s the catch – according to a GovLoop survey of 800 public-sector and industry employees, 49 percent said they had never heard of IoT, while 16 percent said that they had heard of it but wasn’t sure what it means.

It’s clear there is more education and research that needs to happen before companies and agencies can develop a plan to implement the IoT for their specific processes, however everyone should begin to design a strategy that will help this revolutionizing technology enhance business processes before it’s too late.

Editor’s Note: This Article was originally published on Xerox Blogs and is featured here with permission.


Chuck Brooks
Chuck Brooks
Chuck Brooks is a globally recognized thought leader and evangelist for Cybersecurity and Emerging Technologies. LinkedIn named Chuck as one of “The Top 5 Tech People to Follow on LinkedIn”. He was named by Thompson Reuters as a “Top 50 Global Influencer in Risk, Compliance,” and by IFSEC as the “#2 Global Cybersecurity Influencer” in 2018. He is also a Cybersecurity Expert for “The Network” at the Washington Post, Visiting Editor at Homeland Security Today, and a Contributor to FORBES. In government, Chuck has received two senior Presidential appointments. Under President George W. Bush Chuck was appointed to The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as the first Legislative Director of The Science & Technology Directorate at the Department of Homeland Security. He also was appointed as Special Assistant to the Director of Voice of America under President Reagan. He served as a top Advisor to the late Senator Arlen Specter on Capitol Hill covering security and technology issues on Capitol Hill. In local government, he also worked as an Auxiliary Police officer for Arlington, Virginia. In industry, Chuck has served in senior executive roles for General Dynamics as the Principal Market Growth Strategist for Cyber Systems, at Xerox as Vice President & Client Executive for Homeland Security, for Rapiscan and Vice President of R & D, for SRA as Vice President of Government Relations, and for Sutherland as Vice President of Marketing and Government Relations. In academia, Chuck is Adjunct Faculty at Georgetown University’s Applied Intelligence Program and graduate Cybersecurity Programs where he teaches courses on risk management, homeland security, and cybersecurity. He was an Adjunct Faculty Member at Johns Hopkins University where he taught a graduate course on homeland security for two years. He has an MA in International relations from the University of Chicago, a BA in Political Science from DePauw University, and a Certificate in International Law from The Hague Academy of International Law.

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