New Policy Ideas Needed for the New Internet of Things

November 18, 2013

WASHINGTON (November 18, 2013) – The “Internet of Things” refers to the concept that the Internet now serves as a platform for devices to communicate electronically with the world around them. This environment is alive with information as data flows from one device to another and is shared and reused for a multitude of purposes. Harnessing the potential of this explosion of data for economic and social good will be one of the primary challenges and opportunities of the coming decades.

A new report by the Center for Data Innovation, an affiliate of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, provides an overview of how the devices that make up the Internet of Things are affecting nearly every aspect of society. It also highlights policy opportunities to maximize the potential economic and social benefits of these technologies.

“A combination of innovations, including low-cost sensors, scalable cloud computing and ubiquitous wireless connectivity, are unleashing an entirely new stream of high-value data, which is transforming a host of industries from transportation to health care to communications,” notes Daniel Castro, Director of the Center for Data Innovation and co-author of the report.

The report highlights a host of new products and services that are improving the way we manage health care, use energy, and protect the environment, among others. It also presents a series of policy recommendations designed to increase government adoption of these new innovations, expand consumer access to data, and transform our regulatory structure to better address the potential the Internet of Things provides.

“Policymakers need to understand that the Internet of Things is already here today," adds Castro. "To properly address this reality, we must create a new policy model that embraces these types of technologies if we want to take advantage of all the benefits it offers.”

Read the report.

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The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) is a non-profit, non-partisan think tank whose mission is to formulate and promote public policies to advance technological innovation and productivity internationally, in Washington, and in the states. Recognizing the vital role of technology in ensuring prosperity, ITIF focuses on innovation, productivity, and digital economy issues. Learn more at www.itif.org.