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The Internet of Things: Government IT Trends and Increased Connectivity

shutterstock_293354018With the first official report of a car hacking making headlines, the Internet of Things (IoT) and its benefits and drawbacks are at the forefront. But, what does it mean for government agencies and current modernization efforts?

Regardless of the answer, it’s evident- the IoT is taking government IT by storm. Are you and your agency ready?

Senators Urge GAO to Study the Internet of Things

While it is easy for some to assume that government agencies and constituents are not concerned with the IoT, that just isn’t the case.

NextGov recently published an article highlighting a group of bipartisan senators who are encouraging lawmakers and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to study the Internet of Things more closely to determine how agencies can benefit from the IoT and increased connectivity.

BYOD Won’t Be the ‘Big Answer’ for DoD, says Halvorsen

At the Department of Defense CIO Mobility Industry Day -hosted by AFCEA’s Washington, D.C. chapter- Department of Defense (DoD) Chief Information Office (CIO) Terry Halvorsen spoke on DoD’s “bring your own device” (BYOD) efforts.

Halvorsen admitted that while BYOD is in the works for DoD, the agency will not experience a large roll-out. DoD will instead have a niche for BYOD with only a few select individuals taking part. He went on to say that a larger roll out of “choose your own device” (CYOD) is more probable for DoD. A CYOD program is one where employees will be allowed to choose from a set of devices that will enable limited personal use.

Halvorsen continued: “We’re still going to give you a very specific device with very specific locked apps,” stressing the importance of security for an agency like DoD.

New roles for Both CIO and CEO in Internet of Everything Era

While privacy and confidentiality are obvious concerns within the IoT, changes to business processes and organizational roles are top of mind as well. In a recent interview with Dr. David Bray- CIO of the Federal Communications Commission- the Enterprisers Project, posed some tough questions concerning the evolving roles of CIOs and CEOs as a result of the IoT.

Within the interview Dr. Bray shared: “…for established organizations to survive, both CIOs and CEOs will need to recognize that the exponential impacts of the Internet of Everything require the organization to be open to transforming how it works with both internal and external stakeholders in a way that’s much more nimble, resilient, and responsive than ever before.”

How to Regulate Something that Barely Even Exists Yet: An interview

And with changes to business processes and organizational roles, also comes the need for increased regulation. Scott Peppet, a law professor at the University of Colorado Law School, just published the first article on how we should regulate the IoT. Peppet’s 90 page report approaches the scary and fascinating questions surrounding how the private and public sector should regulate the ever growing IoT.

In a recent interview with Politico Peppet shared: “The Internet of Things comes around with vastly more and higher-quality data about individuals potentially being generated. It raises some of the same kinds of regulatory questions that we have to deal with not just on the Internet generally, but with a whole new layer of complexity.”

And just for fun- consider how the IoT is affecting our personal lives as well:
When Your Scale and Fridge Conspire to Make You Lose Weight, the IoT Will Have Gone Too Far

In the above highlighted Washington Post article, author Vivek Wadwha, shares that businesses and retail giants are ecstatic that we have sensors in anything from our dishwashers to our household thermostats. And, while all of the data collected creates confidentiality and privacy concerns, especially as more and more agencies consider a “bring your own device” program, many businesses and agencies have yet to gain the savvy needed to fully utilize the information they collect.

On privacy and data usage, Vivek ends the post by saying: “I am not looking forward to having my bathroom scale tell my refrigerator not to order any more cheesecake, but know that it is an amazing — and scary — future that we are rapidly heading into.”

Want to learn more about how to navigate the Internet of Things? Review GovLoops latest eGuide “What the Internet of Things Means for the Public Sector” by clicking here.

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