This interview is an excerpt from GovLoop’s recent guide, What the Internet of Things Means for the Public Sector, which explores insights and best practices into how government is using automated machine-to-machine transactions and implementing IoT in the public sector.
At its essence, the Internet of Everything (IoE) is the connection of people, processes, data and things over Internet protocol (IP) networks. And the public sector needs to be paying close attention as this buzzword develops into actionable technology. That’s because IoE is creating unprecedented value to both the private and public sector. Cisco estimates that IoE will generate $19 trillion in value over the next 10 years for the private and public sectors combined.
To learn more about the future of IoE in the public sector, GovLoop sat down with Chris Cressy, Federal Sales Manager for Internet of Things at Cisco, to discuss how government can take advantage of this technology.
First, Cressy stressed that there is a difference between two terms – Internet of Everything and Internet of Things – that the public sector needs to recognize.
“The Internet of Things is about connectivity – connecting machines, devices, sensors, and non-IT systems,” Cressy explained. “The Internet of Everything expands on IoT by connecting devices to people, managing immense amounts of IoT data, and processing this data into actionable intelligence, increased productivity, and value for customers. Another way to look at it, said Cressy, is that the Internet of Everything are solutions that are developed around the Internet of Things.
So what does the Internet of Everything mean in the context of government and government services? In short, the technology will affect every sector, from the military to state and local government.
“Some of the key uses of the Internet of Everything in the public sector are in reducing and managing energy usage; networking and monitoring of critical infrastructure for protection and cybersecurity; deployment of sensor systems for both intelligence and citizen services, and secure mobile communications,” Cressy said. Cisco has been working with U.S. defense agencies to deploy secure mobile communications systems for over 10 years. Cisco embedded routers and switches are deployed in thousands of ruggedized, mobile communications kits. Cisco embedded products, along with industrial Ethernet, wireless and security products are now being adopted by civilian agencies for border security and state and local law enforcement.
Based on bottom-up analysis of 40 public sector use cases covering cities, agencies, and verticals such as healthcare, education, and defense, Cressy explained that benefits government can gain from IoE technology include increased revenue, increased productivity, new operational capabilities, and enhanced citizen services.
For those in government looking to implement the Internet of Everything, Cressy had a variety of best practices to offer.
“Public sector administrators and CIOs should look for starting points with converged IoE solutions that provide immediate value and ROI, but also lay the framework for future IoE solutions,” he said. “At Cisco, we have focused on validated designs and solution architectures for many years. Those architectures now provide a powerful framework to implement IoE solutions. For example, a converged network of fiber, copper, wireless, and security can provide a pervasive framework for IoE across a campus or an entire city.”
Security is paramount for IoE. “At Cisco, what we have developed a comprehensive security architecture for the enterprise that we are now extending to IoE systems,” Cressy explained. “We are using essentially the same security tools to secure IoE infrastructure that we do for an enterprise. That means that organizations can establish consistent, comprehensive security policies for access, authentication, and intrusion across all their infrastructure, whether it is IT or Operation Technologies (OT). Moreover, OT systems can be made more secure by real-time cybersecurity monitoring over IT networks. The old paradigm of separate, isolated networks and air-gap security is no longer sufficient. So whether it is connectivity to building systems, energy systems or transportation systems, all these systems can now benefit from IT security solutions.
Cressy concluded by encouraging public sector leaders to truly realize the scope of IoE technology.
“We are going to be connecting orders of magnitude more devices with IoE than we have now – at least tenfold in the next ten years,” he said. “Ten years from now, everything that can be, will be connected. The power and value of the IoE networks will be hundreds of times, if not thousands of times greater than the value of a today’s networks. I think the transformation that that IoE expansion will have in the world is going to be completely unprecedented. And what that means is, we need to prepare today.”