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The Internet of Things: does the U.S. need a national strategy?

Today the House Energy and Commerce Committee convened a hearing on the Internet of Things (IoT) entitled “Exploring the Next Technology Frontier.” Among the witnesses was Intel Corporation Vice President Rose Schooler, whose written testimony offered five recommendations for action. Here’s a partial excerpt of two of them, which bear highlighting:

4. Collaborate with the industry to develop a U.S. National IoT Strategy with time-bound goals for sector-specific IoT deployments over the next 3 to 5 years….
5. As part of our National IoT Strategy, encourage Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) to address societal problems and accelerate more rapid deployment of IoT solutions.”

Emphasizing throughout her statement that “security is the foundation of IoT,” Schooler observes further that “adopting and implementing” a national strategy in this area would demonstrate U.S. leadership; and could reinforce and enhance the country’s “global competitiveness.”

Other countries have already begun to stake their claim in this field by defining IoT-related objectives and aspirations, and resourcing them accordingly as a national priority. In this regard, Schooler specifically cites China, the UAE, Malaysia, Germany, and Brazil. Singapore is another; learn more about its “Smart Nation initiative” at this link.

The bottom line is that technology is evolving rapidly, and reacting/retrofitting is no way to proceed. By contrast, a thoughtful, coherent (national/cross-sectoral/public-private), and forward-leaning approach would better serve U.S. national security, various economic ends, and many other purposes as well. Such a strategy would also be commensurate with America’s track record, historically, in terms of technological innovation and leadership.