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Government Uses of IoT Needs to Catch Up with Technology

The Internet of Things (IoT) promises more flexible and creative solutions for the federal government, but as recently as two years ago, few agencies had taken advantage. Many still face significant barriers to adoption.

A few agencies, however, have found IoT solutions to be extremely beneficial. The General Services Administration is gathering energy and other operational data from hundreds of low-cost sensors in government-owned buildings as part of its Smart Buildings initiative. The Agriculture Department, the National Agricultural Statistics Service collects data from farms using connected farm technologies, such as soil moisture sensors or networked combine harvesters. Both agencies are saving between $5 - $15 million a year in operating costs.

How should the federal government use more IoT innovations? First, they need a comprehensive vision for IoT implementation. Second, funding must be properly allocated amongst all federal agencies for IoT adoption. Third, simplified procurement practices and rethinking security risks will enable greater IoT usage.

The private sector sees the Internet of Things as an opportunity to fundamentally transform operations and improve efficiency and effectiveness, but most federal agencies see IoT as just another new technology. The sooner government changes that thinking, the sooner agencies can begin to reap the benefits.

To read the full article by Joshua New, a policy analyst at the Center for Data Innovation, visit FedTech Magazine.

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