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Report – Fostering The Advancement of the Internet of Things

Department of Commerce Internet Policy Task Force & Digital Economy Leadership Team report, Fostering the Advancement of the Internet of Things, January 2017.

“The Internet of Things (IoT) – in which connected devices are proliferating at an unprecedented rate–is a technological development that is transforming the way we live and do business. IoT continues the decades-long trend of increasing connectivity among devices and the Internet, bringing online everything from refrigerators to automobiles to factory inventory systems. At the same time, IoT encompasses a widening scope of industries and activities and a vastly increasing scale and number of devices being connected, thus raising the stakes and impacts of broad connectivity. The prospective benefits of IoT to personal convenience, public safety, efficiency, and the environment are clear. IoT has the potential to make our highways safer by enabling connected vehicles to interact with each other to prevent accidents, to make quality health care more accessible through remote monitoring devices and telehealth practices for those who cannot easily travel, and to reduce waste and improve efficiency both in factory supply chains and in the running of cities. It even has the potential to create new industries and consumer goods that have yet to be imagined. For the full potential to be realized, however, the necessary infrastructure and policies must be in place,including strategies to respond to the challenges raised in areas such as cybersecurity and privacy. Due to its expertise in the issues raised by IoT, as well as its economy-wide perspective, the Department of Commerce (Department) is well placed to meet these challenges and to champion the development of a robust IoT environment that benefits consumers, the economy, and society as a whole. With an April 2016 Request for Comment, “The Benefits, Challenges, and Potential Roles for the Government in fostering the Advancement of the Internet of Things,” the Department of Commerce sought to review the current technological and policy landscape relating to IoT. A broad array of stakeholders – from the private sector, academia,government, and civil society–offered perspectives in response to the request. In September 2016, the Department hosted a workshop to delve deeper into the questions raised by the Request for Comment, and to explore some of the related issues arising from the public comments. This paper represents the Department’s analysis of those comments. It also identifies key issues that can impact the deployment of IoT technologies, highlights potential benefits and challenges, and discusses what role, if any, the U.S. Government, particularly the Department of Commerce, should play in this evolving landscape.”

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