The Internet of Things is slowly making its way into the government space. But what is the Internet of Things exactly and how can the government optimize the technological advances to help the government run more effectively and efficiently?
Sokwoo Rhee and Geoff Mulligan are Presidential Innovation Fellows at NIST. As part of their fellowship they have launched the Smart America Challenge as a way to create standards around the Internet of Things. Rhee and Mulligan sat down for an extended interview with Chris Dorobek on the DorobekINSIDER program. (Rhee and Mulligan will both be panelists on the DorobekINSIDER LIVE Internet of Things program tomorrow, you can still register here. You can also register for the IOT event in August.)
What is the Internet of Things?
"The Internet of Things is about things, (stuff) that is interconnected to the internet. These are things that are connected to do sensing. Things that are set to know where things are, or what the current environment that they are in and what they are doing. The internet of things is about knowing where cars are on the road and how fast they are going. An extension of that, that Sokwoo and I are working on is called Cyber Physical Systems (CPS) which takes that information and brings it back into controlling the environment, controlling the area around the cars," said Mulligan.
San Fran has tied parking meters to sensors? Boston is measuring for potholes based on sensors in your phone. What's next?
"In NYC about 30% of the traffic, is actually people looking for parking. If you can reduce the amount of time it takes to find a parking space than traffic issues will be much alleviated," said Rhee.
What is the Smart America Challenge?
"Smart America Challenge was conceived by Geoff and me when we first came into the Presidential Innovation role last June. What we realized is that there has been a lot of investment that has gone into developing new technologies and making specific applications more beneficial. The government has invested hundreds of millions of dollars on basic research for cyber physical systems, but what we realized is that they are very sector specific. For example, there is a medical CPS that is making tremendous progress, but it is all about medical stuff. There are tons of investments going in to make transportation systems applicable to CPS. There are 2,800 cars running right now in south Michigan, it is a test bed of the future of cyber physical systems based cars, but what we realized is all of these projects are not talking to each other. A lot of these sector specific systems can be interconnected or federated. We believe that one plus one can be more than two," said Rhee.
You guys are trying to set up some standards so that when people are creating these systems they can all work together?
"We want to be the ARPANet for CPS integration. There is a duality to nature and to our project:
"All the teams competing in Smart America are all composed of multiple companies, government agencies and institutions. A lot of them are sector specific and by definition are using different types of communication portals and different types of connectivity. But by forcing them to work together they naturally agree on some sets of the common languages and they communicate effectively because they have to. That is the benefit and one of the outcomes we are expecting to come out of this competition," said Rhee.
Sign up for DorobekINSIDER Live: Internet of Things in Government coming up on 3/19.