3 challenges facing IoT adoption in government

By Kevin Shaker and Mark Wisinger, senior analysts

There’s no question that the internet of things market, whether government or commercial, is going to grow dramatically over the next few years.

We recently blogged about the federal market growing to $3 billion by 2018, which is a 20 percent jump from 2016. An even more dramatic prediction is that the number of devices connected to the internet will hit 20 billion by 2020.

“There’s going to be more IoT devices on the internet than everything else we’ve ever touched before,” said Stephen DiFranco, principal of the IoT Advisory Group, at immixGroup’s recent Market Intelligence event.

IoT in Government—From Impact to Opportunity included a briefing on the federal IoT market, as well as a government panel on some of the challenges and needs for IoT within agencies.

Despite projected IoT growth, government leaders say they still face the following challenges in security, infrastructure and legacy systems:

  • Current IoT solutions aren’t as secure as they should be and federal leaders said they’re concerned about protecting an infrastructure in this new connected world where it’s not just nation states that are the threat, but any hacker.

“There has to be a way to maintain and update those systems as new vulnerabilities come along,” said Michael Mestrovich, director of the Technical Services Office for the U.S. Federal Government. “For this to take off in government, how we deal with the security of devices from a longevity perspective is really something we need to focus on.”

  • With 20 billion devices expected to be connected to the internet by 2020, the current IT infrastructure will need to change to accommodate this massive growth. IoT will need intermediate gateways to handle this level of data collection.

“We will literally have to double the number of data centers, with 100,000 servers in each data center, each with 40 megawatts of power,” said DiFranco. “Unless we want to build massive hydroelectric plants in this country, we’re going to need a new architecture to make this work.”

  • Legacy IT systems within federal agencies need to evolve to support IoT. Budgets across agencies are flat or declining but federal leaders said that an investment in IoT solutions will bring greater efficiency and cost savings down the road.

“We’re going to need a fusion of the legacy and the IoT and there’s going to be new investments by different players,” said Dr. David Wollman, deputy director, Smart Grid and Cyber-Physical Systems Program Office at NIST.

Want to hear more from our Iot in Government event? Watch on-demand videos of the briefing here and the government panel here.

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