Governments in the future may look to the Internet of Things (IoT) to get more efficient. The IoT is a network of physical objects such as actuators and sensors that are connected to computing systems. The network is a source of valuable operational data.

The government market offers huge potential for IoT. Total government spending on the Internet of Things is expected to grow from just over $12.0 billion in 2013 to over $26.4 billion in 2018, predicts IDC Government Insights. That equals a 17.1 percent compound annual growth rate for that  time frame. IDC has issued a report on the IoT in government. The title: "Perspective: Internet of Things Forecast by Level of Government — Substantial Growth Through 2018." Go here for details on the report.

"Today, the IoT is a key technology incentive that is breathing new life into IT budgets, particularly at the local level and within the federal Department of Defense,” says Ruthbea Yesner Clarke, research director, IDC Government Insights, and one of the authors of the report. She tells GPN that the IoT is helping governments improve processes and work toward cost optimization.

Yesner Clarke predicts that the following public sector categories will be leaders in IoT spending in the years ahead:

--Public safety, which includes first responders and emergency response and disaster management. The category also includes public safety in general, including local police departments and sheriff’s departments, which are already using a lot of body cameras on patrol. “The police officer is becoming a connected being as much as the police vehicle has always been,” says Yesner Clarke. “We are seeing a tremendous amount of data flowing from devices that are on police and in cruisers as well as on streets, including acoustic sensors and video cams.”

--Traffic and transportation. This includes everything from fleet management, including having GPS tracking capabilities on school buses. This IoT category includes managing traffic, monitoring transponders for automatic toll payment, license plate readers, smart parking and also public transit. Yesner Clarke tells GPN that the IoT can connect the location of buses and scheduling of buses, and communicate that information to transit riders.

--Public works is the third major category of IoT spend in the public sector. “I see a lot happening with connected lighting, monitored water systems and sensored waste and trash bins,” says Yesner Clarke.

For cities that are eager to develop an IoT application, Yesner Clarke suggests that they find a concretely measurable problem that might be solved through an IoT solution. Some potential problems could be tremendous water system leakage, aging infrastructure, or repeated vandalism in parks, she says.

Once the problem is selected, the city could do a focused pilot study to find a solution. The city, says Yesner Clarke, could partner with vendors, academia, system integrators, data scientists, engineers and others to achieve positive, measurable results.

In the video, Charles Reed Andersen, head of IDC Asia/Pacific’s Mobility and Internet of Things (IoT) research, provides an introduction to the Internet of Things.


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