New IoT Opportunities to be Found at DoD Facilities

Mark Wisinger_100x135Internet of Things

By Mark Wisinger, senior analyst

Facilities management continues to be the strongest use case for IoT solution sales, especially at the Department of Defense, which maintains thousands of facilities both within and outside the continental U.S. Each individual building contains a wide variety of sensors and devices that need to be actively monitored.

A single building may have systems for fire alarm reporting, closed-circuit TV, HVAC, lighting control, smart grid and physical access control and may include water management and power management devices. The massive amounts of data collected by these systems could help drive better decision making to help the DOD operate more efficiently, protect its assets and personnel, and save money.

Access to HVAC, utility and security system data can provide enormous benefits, but there is inevitable risk too. The DOD is trying to get beyond just worrying about data security compliance and instead wants to focus on managing an acceptable amount of risk.

A significant challenge the DOD is starting to address is situational awareness of IoT devices at both the facility and installation level.

For example, the Navy is having a difficult time gaining visibility into all of a building or base’s devices and making good use of the associated data. It is tackling this challenge by rolling out two systems: the Control System Platform Enclave (CSPE) to manage the network and the Navy Utility Monitoring and Control System (N-UMCS) to handle edge devices and sensors, such as smart meters. This is a huge undertaking that requires help from vendors with experience in IoT platforms and device control.

There’s still plenty of time to get involved with CSPE and N-UMCS. These systems provide opportunities for vendors with data management, data warehousing, device control and edge-networking capabilities.

Focusing specifically on smart grid and its cybersecurity, the Navy Facilities Engineering Command is deploying CSPE Version 2 this fiscal year to its building and utility control systems. In the next few years, NAVFAC will be focusing extensively on data analytics to take advantage of the data generated by its meters and power management devices, as well as insuring the hardening and securing of its new CSPE facility IoT platform. If you have data analytic solutions in your portfolio, reach out to NAVFAC to talk about how your solution may drive decisions derived from smart-device data.

The Navy and Marine Corps aren’t the only service branches taking a look at IoT technology to overhaul disparate facility management infrastructures. The Army Corps of Engineers and Air Force Civil Engineer Center are also looking at ways to secure and overhaul their facility IoT posture. AFCE has been looking for help in securing the Platform IT-Industrial Control System (PIT-ICS), the Air Force’s facility IoT management system. This makes a great insertion point for an IoT-friendly cybersecurity solution that has a strong use case in the facilities management sector.

IoT use cases will continue to grow for public sector, though initially at a slow pace. In the near term, and for the DOD in particular, technology companies specializing in IoT solutions will want to target facilities management. It should be the first place any vendor with IoT solutions in the areas of edge networking, device control, and data management and protection look to drive business in FY2018 and FY2019.

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