According to a new report, the US Government is failing to support and invest in the Internet of Things (IoT), meaning the country is not able to fully reap the rewards of the tech.
The report, which was released by the Center for Data Innovation last week, found that the country is taking part in smaller projects but says this isn’t enough.
It calls on the government to develop a coordinated strategy for the growth of IoT technologies in the country. Smaller projects can’t help in the long-term.
Such projects include cyber-security guidelines created by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Federal Communication Commission’s aims to get more spectrum made available for IoT, and Department of Transport’s vehicle communications tech support.
But these efforts haven’t made IoT a mainstream reality in the US. Despite that, there’s been a small bit of progress over the past few months. At the start of the year, the Senate introduced a bill for the development of IoT.
The act, dubbed DIGIT, has since been sent to the US Government Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation to be reviewed, although it could be a long time before anything actually happens.
If the act is passed and written into the law books, it would require the US Government to set up a strategic group for the industry. This would consist of industry and government partners to grow IoT.
They’d be responsible for discussing ways the government could improve coordination on the topic of IoT, identifying potential benefits and uses for the government, and developing policies to regulate connected tech.
It’ would also send clear signals to the FCC on IoT spectrum needs and act as a support net if the organisation were to hit any obstacles. The act formally recommends the creation of a nationwide strategy on the issue of connected tech.
No major progress
The report author isn’t confident that any major progress will be made within the next few months, especially with a new government administration around the corner. That said, Trump has the opportunity to turn the US into an IoT leader.
“As the Obama administration draws to a close, it is unlikely the Federal government will make significant additional progress toward a national strategy,” the author wrote.
“However, the stage is set for the Trump administration to take up the mantle and establish the Federal government not only as a lead adopter of the Internet of Things, but also as a champion for the technology and a valuable partner for the private sector.”
US Government support is crucial
Art Swift, president of the Prpl Foundation, said: “It [US Government] must not overlook wider security and privacy implications this will have on so-called smart cities.
“IoT, although growing at an enormous pace, is still very much in its infancy and security is often an afterthought. If we don’t take steps now to improve security within devices at the development level, the results could be catastrophic, especially when used to capture data on passengers and whole cities.
“At best, people’s privacy and civil liberties are affected and at worst, poor security controls will mean cyber-criminals will have access to a whole host of information they can use for surveillance or other nefarious purposes when security controls aren’t properly addressed.
He added: “State and local governments can help by asking the right questions and having reasonable expectations of the technology and technology providers that it works with to create smart cities.”
Companies taking the baton
While governments may be failing to spot the potential of IoT, that’s not stopping companies from making major investments in the sector. Lord Drayson, CEO of Drayson Technologies, recently spoke to Internet of Business about the IoT investment climate.
“We’re entering a period of consolidation in the IoT market. If you look at Qualcomm’s recent acquisition of NXP and Softbank’s purchase of ARM, you can see that the IoT opportunity is at the heart of the strategic rationale behind those deals,” he said.
“We can expect to see more strategic M&A across the IoT value chain and not just between the big players. No clear leaders and standards have yet emerged to dominate the IoT market and as such M&A will play a key role in determining who wins.”