IOT: Biggest Tech Issue of 2017?

With the First 100 Days of the Trump Administration just around the corner, now is a good time to reflect on Congress’ First 100 Days. Internet of Things (IoT) technology is emerging as one of the biggest tech issues of 2017 perhaps reflecting the potential impact IoT will have on many sectors of the economy and society and the tech companies investing in IoT.  It’s estimated 20 billion devices will go online in the next decade.  At the same time, cybersecurity experts have warned that IoT devices present a real threat to the internet.  Congressional Committees with direct jurisdiction over IoT have held six hearings so far this year.  Legislative solutions are starting to develop.

Any action which Congress may take on IoT, will impact industry members who develop products and services which utilize the technology.

The discussion about IoT is taking place in the context of other relevant issues. Some of which include: Healthcare, Autonomous Vehicles, Consumer Privacy, Infrastructure, Broadband Deployment, etc. Members are discussing ways to facilitate the deployment of IoT by freeing up spectrum, with emphasis on low-to-mid range bands, and enhancing broadband services. They are also interested in exploring benefits of using IoT such as quick and accurate date from sensors in medical devices or reducing car accidents through vehicle-to-infrastructure communication. The time is ripe for companies to engage with policy makers who are eager to learn about the potential benefits of IoT and what obstacles exist that impede efforts to commercialize these services.

Although much of the discussion involving IoT has been on how to promote the services, security is becoming a growing concern for Members of Congress. Because of the far-reaching impacts of IoT, any relevant sectors which incorporate IoT technology should reach out to policy makers to not only raise awareness of their products, but also to contribute to any potential action moving forward. It is an optimal time for industry to get involved.