American City & County’s Internet of Things (IoT) poll shows the following government sectors will be affected the most by IoT in the next five years:

Public Safety
Traffic/Parking Management
Public Transportation

The three sectors have each received at least 49 percent of the respondents’ total votes. The poll, which is still open, asks respondents to choose from a list of nine sectors; there is no limit on the number of sectors that respondents can select.

In local government, IoT will affect pretty much every function that requires employee mobility outside the office, says Wolf Ruzicka, chairman of the board at EastBanc Technologies. Tracking of assets (like fleet management, package-tracking, etc.) is an area that’s ripe for IoT development, he says. Employee tracking, says Ruzicka, is also suited for IoT applications. Employee tracking can include police enforcement, parking management and any kind of street supervising functions, adds Ruzicka.

Headquartered in Washington, D.C., EastBanc Technologies is a platform-agnostic, full-lifecycle software development company. The firm delivers flexible technology solutions, and has worked with the Baltimore city government as well as federal agencies.

Preventive maintenance for municipal equipment is probably the easiest low-hanging fruit where government can get a quick return on investment, Ruzicka tells GPN. Applying machine learning techniques to data collected from system sensors could help cities and counties keep equipment in tip-top shape, he adds. Systems where IoT solutions could be a good fit, says Ruzicka, include HVAC installations, escalators and elevators, and train control operations.

Residents are part of the IoT solution Ruzicka tells GPN. “Any government agency’s ‘customers' are sensors, if you will. They carry Internet-connected devices and sit in connected vehicles that measure many data points (geo-location, sound, pictures, speed, temperature potholes, etc.).”

These citizens want their government to provide them better services more efficiently, adds Ruzicka. “Just like they share their data freely with others (family members, colleagues, Google, Facebook, the Washington Post, their physicians, trainers, Apple, etc.), they would share that data with ‘their’ agencies, if it were permission-based, incentivized, application program interface (API)-enabled, convenient, and maybe anonymous in order to receive better service.”

Ruzicka says these citizen-sensors would “cumulatively indicate and verify potholes, aggressive driving, buildings in disrepair, mobs, early indicators of epidemics, flu outbreaks — and other incidents that require a municipal response.”

IoT public safety and security concerns need to be addressed, adds Ruzicka.  “Malicious users might reverse-engineer one of many devices installed publicly on the street to perform denial of service attacks on IoT infrastructure, potentially bringing down services for everyone.”

And don’t forget IoT privacy concerns, says Ruzicka. “Any tracked data should be transparent, and discoverable. Ideally, it would be anonymous (no personally identifiable information).” The tracked data, he adds, should be “available open source for outside developers to put to even better use than the government could, while at the same time providing a second pair of eyes that puts privacy concerns that individuals may have to rest.”

On the issue of privacy, Ruzicka says tracked information should only be gathered and shared based on permissions that can be revoked at any time in a very convenient way (one-click-on & one-click-off).

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