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Government and the Internet of Things

A deep dive into how world governments have handled the Internet of Things...

The Internet of Things has vast implications for government institutions from city hall to international governing bodies. Tens of billions of physical devices are expected to join the global network by the end of the decade, providing a number of concerns and opportunities for planners, policymakers and regulators.

A Cisco whitepaper indicated that the IoT is poised to generate $4.6 trillion in Value at Stake for the public sector over the next decade (compared with $14.4 trillion for the private sector), with the five primary drivers being:

  1. Employee productivity
  2. Connected militarized defense
  3. Cost reduction
  4. Citizen experience
  5. Increased revenue

Alongside that potential value, these same technologies will have significant impacts on citizen security and privacy.

Below is a breakdown of how different governments are handling this new wave of technology and services, whether through governance and regulation or funding initiatives.


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European Union

Governance and Regulation


E.U. 7th Framework IoT Research Projects

From 2007 through 2013, the European Union’s 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development(FP7) poured more than €50 billion ($55 billion) into research and innovation across all areas of science, technology, and society. More than €130 million ($145 million) went to projects related to the Internet of Things—many of which are still ongoing.

FP7 funding recipients included academic and industry groups, and often featured public-private partnerships that transcended national borders and included collaborators outside the E.U. Projects ran the gamut from attempts to create broad “reference architectures” that can serve as the technological foundation for the IoT, to efforts to build smart cities that act as “living laboratories” where researchers can experiment with the technologies and systems that will make the IoT an everyday reality.

The next iteration of the E.U.’s research program, Horizon 2020, kicked off in 2014 with a budget of €80 billion ($88 billion). IoT innovation is sure to play a role in projects across a number of H2020 focus areas addressing societal challenges such as an ageing population, food security, and energy efficiency and sustainability. No doubt many, if not most, of those projects will draw on the results of FP7 research.

Learn more about the IoT innovations funded by FP7 in the table below.


? Europe’s policy options for a dynamic and trustworthy development of the Internet of Things (PDF) - Rand (1/1/2012)

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United Kingdom

Governance and Regulation

Report / Publications / Comments


While also participating in the E.U.'s 7th Framework research program, the U.K. has set ambitious IoT research goals of its own. At a speech at CeBIT in March 2014, Prime Minister David Cameron announced that the country would put an additional £45 million ($69 million) toward research in areas linked to the Internet of Things, taking the total pot available to £73 million ($113 million). He also announced a £1 million ($1.5 million) "European Internet of Things" grant fund aimed at supporting startups with a combination of seed money and business development support through the government's East London Tech City organization.

Areas of focus that received a cut of the £45 million fund for IoT innovation include:

  • Future Cities programme 2014/15 — £18.5 million ($29 million)
  • Enabling Technologies for energy 2014/15 — £3 million ($4.6 million)
  • Connected Freight — £4 million ($6.2 million)
  • Digital Health — £5 million ($7.7 million)
  • Location Based Services — £5 million ($7.7 million)
  • Reimagining the High St — £6 million ($9.3 million)
  • Secure Remote Working — £3.5 million ($5.4 million) (EPSRC funding)

Innovate UK

The new name for the Technology Strategy Board – the UK’s innovation agency. (An executive non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills)


? How the 'internet of things' could radically change local government - Duncan Jefferies, The Guardian (6/2011)

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United States

Governance and Regulation

Senate Resolutions

S.Res.110 - A resolution expressing the sense of the Senate about a strategy for the Internet of Things to promote economic growth and consumer empowerment. (3/24/2015)

“Expresses the sense of the Senate that United States should: (1) develop a strategy to incentivize development of the Internet of Things for connected technologies to empower consumers, foster future economic growth, and improve collective social well-being; (2) recognize the importance of consensus-based best practices and communication among businesses and stakeholders; and (3) commit to using the Internet of Things to improve its efficiency and effectiveness and to cut waste, fraud, and abuse.”

- Hearing The Connected World: Examining the Internet of Things (2/15/2015)


Activity Search

March 2015 - Formed the Office of Technology Research and Investigation (OTRI)
“The OTRI is the successor to the MTU, and will build upon their great work by tackling an even broader array of investigative research on technology issues involving all facets of the FTC’s consumer protection mission, including privacy, data security, connected cars, smart homes, algorithmic transparency, emerging payment methods, big data, and the Internet of Things.”

Reports and Publications

Staff Report - Internet of Things: Privacy & Security in a Connected World (PDF) (1/1/2015)
Publication - Careful Connections: Building Security in the Internet of Things

Events and talks

Workshop - Internet of Things - Privacy and Security in a Connected World (11/19/2014)
Remarks - Promoting an Internet of Inclusion: More Things AND More People - Commissioner Maureen K. Ohlhausen, CES (1/8/2015)
Center for Data Innovation - How Can Policymakers Help Build the Internet of Things? (12/3/2014) - Video


? TRENDnet - Marketer of Internet-Connected Home Security Video Cameras Settles FTC Charges It Failed to Protect Consumers' Privacy (9/1/2013)

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As the world's electronics manufacturing powerhouse, it should come as no surprise that China is investing heavily in the IoT. In a 2010 interview with state media, Premier Wen Jiabao identified the IoT as an “emerging strategic industry”—and by the following year, China had created a 5-billion-yuan ($807 million) fund to support the IoT industry. That same year, news sources reported that China's R&D Center for Internet of Things (CIT-China) planned to invest 3,860 billion yuan (US$603 billion) in the machine-to-machine (M2M) ecosystem by 2020.

The city of Wuxi, Jiangsu Province, is home to the National Sensor Information Center, which coordinates many of China's IoT development projects. Wuxi has become an industry hub for IoT companies, and the city has been recognized as a center for Chinese innovation in the IoT.



South Korea


South Korea has a reputation as a high-tech country, and the IoT is prominent on its radar. In 2014 the government developed a master plan that includes an open IoT ecosystem comprised of service, platform, network, device, and IT security layers—the goal being to grow the South Korean IoT market to 30 trillion won ($28.9 billion) in 2020. Over that time the government plans to invest $50 billion won ($49 million) through a combination of public and private investment in core IoT technologies. And in 2015 alone the government is devoting $1 trillion won ($934 million) to fund the growth of the following industries:

  • IoT - 77.2 billion won ($70 million)
  • Smart Cars - 28.2 billion won ($25.5 million)
  • Intelligent Robots - 70 billion won ($63 million)
  • Wearables - 98.3 billion won ($89 million)
  • 5G Networks - 77.1 billion won ($70 million)
  • Semiconductors - 60.8 billion won ($55 million)


General Resources


Reports and Whitepapers

? Cisco - Internet of Everything: A $4.6 Trillion Public-Sector Opportunity (PDF) 2013



Trevor Harwood

Trevor has been following the IoT and its implications since 2009. He is most interested in how we can utilize technology and connectivity to reduce resource usage.



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