Page 58 - FCW, September 15, 2016
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The Internet of Things (IoT) is one of the hottest topics in IT, and that’s reflected in spending. Since fiscal 2011, federal spending on IoT has been growing at a compound annual rate of 10 percent, reaching nearly $9 billion in 2015, according to Govini, which tracks the market.
That spending is spread across three areas — sensors, cloud storage and data processing — and each has unique challenges and opportunities.
“Defense agencies have spent the most on sensors that can compile in-the-field medical data from soldiers, as well as sensors that can gather data to help ensure soldiers’ safety,” says Wallace Sann, public sector chief technology officer for ForeScout. “However, device-based apps that can assist agencies across the board with data processing and analytics have seen the most investment in the last five years.”
Diverse Use Cases, Similar Objectives
Although a wide variety of federal IoT applications exist, they typically share common goals.
“A strong one is connected physical safety
and security: cameras and sensors for things like radiation,” says Gary Hall, chief technology officer for federal defense at Cisco Systems. He points to users in customs, immigration and the Department
of Homeland Security.
Another common goal is saving money by
increasing efficiency and employee productivity. In some cases, IoT applications serve as both the proof of concept and the technological foundation for unrelated applications.
“We’re seeing interest in IoT being initially driven by the potential for significant cost savings and energy management at the plant level for military installations and at the building level, gaining efficiencies in lighting and HVAC,” Hall says. “This is the low-hanging fruit that allows them to start getting involved in leveraging IoT.”
Initial applications often focus on automating processes rather than providing information that humans can use to make decisions.
“But it’s pretty important because you start to build out the platform to support IoT data ingestion and integration,” Hall says. “You’re creating a platform that initially can be used for cost savings, but be further leveraged to provide more mission value. It’s a good way to justify the initial investment to build the platform.”
Some agencies are applying IoT to longstanding practices to achieve additional benefits.
“One excellent example of federal government IoT leadership is in sensor and
Emerging Internet of Things applications range widely, from utility savings to military reconnaissance.

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