We’ve watched homes become smarter as the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to explode. Each connected device collects incredible amounts of data, analyzes that data, and makes decisions off that data, which in turn makes our lives infinitely more convenient.
In some cases, IoT devices can even save lives. At this point, it’s safe to argue that it has gone past being a novelty, and our government agrees.
From the Department of Homeland Security
Dr. Robert Griffin, Deputy Undersecretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security attended and presented at the Internet of Things World convention in California this past spring.
He makes three main points in his presentation, which he discusses in his interview with IOTW (video provided below).
IoT as critical infrastructure
He sees the Internet of Things as critical infrastructure.
One that is “on par with our water systems, our electrical grids, our communication systems”.
This is a big statement, but it makes sense as our society’s dependent relationship with these technologies continues to grow and expand. And honestly, we are already starting to see it happen.
That’s why he says it is imperative that we “harden these technologies”.
Hardening IoT technologies
Why? Because they will be a key component to the the make up of our infrastructure, and we will need to be able to count on them for emergencies. As mentioned previously, IoT devices aren’t just novelty buttons that buy you more laundry detergent on Amazon. We recently covered how Manchester, England is already experimenting with this.
The better your neighborhood or city’s connectivity, the better and more accurate your information, and the better and faster you are able to respond to emergencies.
A community’s heartbeat
He makes the wonderful analogy that IoT data is, at its core, a “digital representation of a community’s heartbeat.” A beautiful phrase, and a beautiful thought.
He points to the idea that the sensors will be able to pull data in times of emergencies. For example, first responders may one day no longer have to rely on a victim’s phone call, and will instead rely on the information gathered from stop light sensors. They might even be able to predict accidents based on time of day, cars per meter, or weather conditions (and I could go on).
Think of how our cities could better provide for its citizens during extreme weather emergencies, or even something as simple as an asthma attack.
To infinity and beyond
Obviously there is a lot of work to be done, but companies small and large have developed some amazing devices, and I’m excited to see what our government will be able to do with them.
When asked to sum up the Internet of Things in one sentence, Dr. Griffin does you one better and offers up a single word: