Internet of Things

Senators seek to foster governmentwide approach to IoT

Internet of Things_man with globe and dollars

Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) is leading a bipartisan group of senators on a bill that aims to help government foster the growth of cutting-edge Internet of Things technology.

The Developing Innovation and Growing the Internet of Things Act is designed as an early step for government work on the IoT. The bill is mainly concerned that government stay ahead of potential spectrum needs created by the explosion in connected devices. More than 50 billion devices, including health wearables and home appliances, are expected to be connected to the Internet by 2020.

The bill directs the Federal Communications Commission to assess spectrum needs required to support the IoT and convenes a working group of federal agencies and private-sector stakeholders to advise Congress on how to plan for and grow the new technological space.

Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) joined Fischer in sponsoring the bill.

"Together, we are working with America's innovators to improve outdated regulations and update our laws," Fischer said.

"The Internet of Things is already having a major impact on our economy, society and individual well-being," Booker said. "This bill underscores our strong commitment to fostering innovation, protecting consumers and finding collaborative solutions to outstanding challenges."

The Senate unanimously passed a resolution in March 2015 calling for a national strategy for the development of the IoT. The new bill directs the working group of private and public stakeholders to look at current and future spectrum needs, the regulatory environment, consumer protection, and privacy and security.

Some on the industry side cheered the effort to drive policymaking in this new and chaotic space.

"An uncoordinated, and siloed approach to IoT will drive leadership in this space elsewhere," said Vince Jesaitis, vice president of government affairs at the Information Technology Industry Council, adding that the organization is backing the bill to direct "relevant federal agencies to create recommendations that will ensure full development of the IoT."

About the Author

Bianca Spinosa is an Editorial Fellow at FCW.

Spinosa covers a variety of federal technology news for FCW including workforce development, women in tech, and the intersection of start-ups and agencies. Prior to joining FCW, she was a TV journalist for more than six years, reporting local news in Virginia, Kentucky, and North Carolina. Spinosa is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Writing at George Mason University, where she also teaches composition. She earned her B.A. from the University of Virginia.

Click here for previous articles by Spinosa, or connect with her on Twitter: @BSpinosa.


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