REUTERS

Toward a connected future: Maximizing the Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a combination of technologies: hardware devices, applications, and network operations that connect the physical world to the internet. In the coming years, as IoT connected devices become more commonplace, tens of millions of cars, and tens of billions of cameras, medical devices, home appliances, industrial systems, and other sensors will come online, enabling the flow of information between devices and consumers, businesses, and even governments. Homes could function more efficiently with connected appliances, entertainment, and security systems; cars could share information to their owner, manufacturer, or other cars; healthcare information could be processed more efficiently to individuals and medical professionals; and smart cities could allow governments to improve infrastructure using data analytics. In fact, a McKinsey report estimated that the IoT could deliver over $11 trillion in economic value by 2025, if businesses and policymakers are able to capitalize on its potential. But there are also risks. How do we maximize value and minimize the potential for harm when this universe of devices comes from thousands of different vendors and use multiple networks across the globe? Several members of Congress have offered constructive ideas on how to maximize the potential of IoT technologies, while keeping them safe.