Some might say C-SPAN has never been so exciting because this week’s coverage featured live and recorded footage of GovLoop’s training session, “The Internet of Things (IoT): Connected Government.” The half-day session offered up important information concerning how the public sector can leverage the IoT. The panel, moderated by Chris Dorobek, featured innovation and thought leadership from the the United States Postal Service (USPS), Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) as well as other industry experts.
At the outset Dorobek asked the audience to define the IoT. Co-founder of Retriever Consulting, Chris Carlson shared that the IoT is the connection of all devices and entities tied into a network, including everything from a soda machine to medical devices to wall thermostats. By using examples of everyday devices such as refrigerators, fitness trackers, and smart phones, the panelists, demonstrated that the IoT really does encapsulate almost any Wi-Fi enabled device.
But since government agencies are not generally in the business of fridges and fitness trackers, how does the IoT revolution apply to meeting the mission?
For example, Daniel Castro- Director of the Center for Data Innovation and Vice President of Information Technology and Innovation Foundation- explained that agencies need to leverage the IoT to its fullest potential by thinking about:
• New technology as a means to solve old problems
• How can we make “smart” the default
• How to build partnerships with the private sector
• How to consider the data divide
Panelist Kelley Sullivan- Program Manager of Information Technology, United States Postal Service (USPS) weighed in at this point with the ways in which IoT is helping her agency deliver on its mission. IoT is making service innovations like Sunday mail delivery feasible, despite budget cuts, and improving customer experience during peak operating hours. For example, increased connectivity and enhanced sensor technology, such as “mobile points of sale”- small smart devices that enable postal employees to move lines faster during peak times- are part of the Internet of Things. With these changes, USPS is synonymous with innovation working diligently to improve resources despite being “strapped for budget and resources…in the age of email.” According to Sullivan, USPS has over 250K connected devices and has plans to continue driving change within the space in the hopes of continuing to improve upon customer service.
Want to learn more about how your agency can leverage the Internet of Things? Click here to view the panel in its entirety, compliments of C-SPAN.