The promise and politics of the Internet of things

When U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene and a Republican colleague set up a congressional caucus focusing on the Internet of Things, also known as IoT, some of her colleagues were puzzled.

Suzan DelBene
U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene

“We got many responses back to our office saying, ‘What’s the ‘Eye-Ott’ project?’” the Washington state Democrat recalled today during a Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce roundtable about “Eye-Ott” … that is, IoT.

Even now, a year after the IoT caucus was formed, a lot of policymakers aren’t up to speed about the implications of having everything from airplanes and refrigerators to the assembly lines where they’re made connected to the internet.

“Technology is moving quickly,” DelBene said. “Policy is not moving as quickly.”

You could say that about a lot of technological issues, of course, but the Internet of Things is a particularly tricky and fast-moving concept. The engineers at Kymeta – a venture that has its headquarters in Redmond, Wash., and has the backing of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates – are finding more and more things that can be connected to the Internet of Things. Some experts estimate that as many as 38 billion devices around the world could be part of the IoT by 2020.

“IoT is a moving target,” Cate van Oppen, Kymeta’s business development manager, told GeekWire.

Get the full story on GeekWire.

By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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