Internet Of Things Needs Government Support - InformationWeek

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Internet Of Things Needs Government Support
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User Rank: Ninja
10/10/2014 | 1:15:17 PM
Re: Be Careful
It seems as though Asia has a real plan to take IoT to the next level. Government support helps, especially in China where business and policy is closely intertwined. It's clear to me that standardization as well as support from country government helps move all of this forward.

Does it mean the US will be left behind? I hope not. 
User Rank: Apprentice
10/9/2014 | 6:55:31 PM
Re: Be Careful
Rob - while this was an interesting article about what governments are investing in IoT, I agree with you. Already users are concerned about privacy and security. The strength of America is in our entrepreneurial and free economy culture. I hope we don't go down the road of planned economies, with their corruption and inefficiencies. Today there is what we at IoT Perspectives call the "IoT Grand Convergence." Billions of dollars are being spent by semiconductor and other infrastructure companies to propel the Internet of Things. Look at ARM, Freescale, Intel, etc., cloud providers, networking companies, such as Cisco, etc. Many large companies are investing in IoT startups and technologies, we don't need the US government to do so. As you note so well, it's been a disaster when the US has acted like a venture firm and/or bailed out failing enterprises for short-term political gain.

We can ask local, state and federal government to reduce taxes and make it easier to be a device - not just a software company, as a number of IoT startups are finding they need to develop ICs and sensors that will do the job. But, as you write - NOT via huge new bureaucracies.

IoT is too critical to let our government drive it. I just don't want them getting in the way.
Jack N FranF583
Jack N FranF583,
User Rank: Guru
10/9/2014 | 11:47:10 AM
Re: Be Careful
Simple solution, Copy the design attributes of Google's Next: 1) encrypt everyrhing by default. a few square mm dedicated to encryption on every tiny chip. 2) encryption at user's not suppliers demand 3) redundant computer backup among nodes capable of being the hub  3) run any group of iThings like a Globetrotter practice with Meadowlark Lemon (in triplicate at the hub) let Meadowlark speak only to the user and use end to end encryption between owner and Meadowlark.

That way science experiments, engineering monitors, homes, autos, businesses all run the same way and can talk or not only with the expressed written (check mark) consent of the user/owner of all the data.
User Rank: Author
10/9/2014 | 10:44:03 AM
Be Careful
I wouldn't be so eager to throw taxpaper money and government bureaucracy at the Internet of Things. To the extent that the feds can facilitate IoT standardization and invest in technical education, terrfiic. But the author seems to be proposing a China-scale national industrial policy. 

Is it the government's business to be picking private sector winners? When it has done that in solar power, it has failed miserably. The author cites SolarCity. Let's not forget the disaster that was Solyndra. Hundreds of millions of dollars poured down the toilet. The author holds up as an IoT investment model China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology investment, which under a 12-year plan (yes, a 12-year plan!) has committed to scaling the country's IoT market to $163 billion. Which US government 12-year program produced the smartphone, cloud, and big data revolutions? Private sector ingenuity and consumer/business demand produced those revolutions, not government dictates. Governments are terrible at divining technology revolutions.

"As part of its fiscal policy toolbox, the US government should conduct cost-benefit analyses of pursuing public-sector IoT projects, so long as the political winds allow it." In other words, create jobs via massive government spending on IoT projects. The Chinese are held up again as a model: "The Chinese central government has selected 202 cities to pilot smart city projects to collect and analyze transportation, electricity, public safety and environmental data." The Chinese construction market is an enormous bubble ready to burst, yet that's the model?

"The US government can also consider special funds to optimize financing for the Internet of Things, such as infrastructure funds, loans, tax privileges, and other subsidies, while weighing programmatically the economic and social benefits against the investment costs. The key is to ensure that the parameters of government financial support are constrained by the oversight of an independent audit committee to evaluate the merits and management of programs. These tools can be dangerous, fraught with perverse incentives and unintended policy consequences, so they should be used with caution."

My italics. Think massive bureaucracy, corruption, influence peddling, political patronage, and waste. All using taxpayer dollars. Is this really the way to go? The likes of Cisco, Microsoft, Intel, and IBM are behind the Internet of Things -- as are myriad startups of all stripes. Why are we not confident they will drive it forward to the extent that makes economic sense? The government should stick to funding education and basic R&D, and to helping set interoperability, construction, and privacy/security standards where appropriate.


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