Bipartisan DIGIT Act Could Make US the Global Leader on the Internet of Things

March 1, 2016

WASHINGTON–The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation's Center for Data Innovation today welcomed the introduction of the Developing Innovation and Growing the Internet of Things (DIGIT) Act by Senators Deb Fischer (R-NE), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Brian Schatz (D-HI). The Center issued the following statement from Director Daniel Castro:

The success of the Internet today can be traced back to smart public policies that proactively supported the growth of the technology. It is encouraging to see policymakers taking the opportunity to repeat this successful approach for the Internet of Things. The DIGIT Act will bring together a broad cross section of stakeholders in government and industry to shape policies on the Internet of Things, ensuring that the United States can successfully capture the wide variety of benefits it has to offer in both the public and private sectors.

The DIGIT Act creates a working group that will address some of the most pressing challenges facing the Internet of Things, such as ensuring federal agencies are prepared to adopt the Internet of Things and identifying spectrum needs, both of which market forces alone cannot readily overcome. With the Secretary of Commerce at the helm, the working group promises to help the United States capitalize on the enormous economic benefits the Internet of Things will offer.

The findings of this working group will provide policymakers with the necessary framework to craft a national strategy for the Internet of Things, which would ensure the technology develops cohesively and rapidly, that consumers and businesses do not face barriers to adoption, and that the public and private sectors can take full advantage of the opportunities the Internet of Things can create. If the United States gets its national strategy right, there is simply no telling the scope of the benefits it can provide.

For this to be a success though, the Secretary should broaden the focus to examine additional challenges facing the Internet of Things. For example, as the Internet of Things generates huge amounts of data for the public and private sectors to act upon, the United States will need to ensure that it produces a workforce capable of taking advantage of this data.

Finally, given the transformative potential of the Internet of Things for health care, cities, agriculture, and other important sectors, the Secretary should also include representatives from agencies that can help maximize these opportunities, such as the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Department of Agriculture.

For more, see the Center’s December 2015 report, “Why Countries Need National Strategies for the Internet of Things.”

About the Center for Data Innovation

The Center for Data Innovation is the leading global think tank studying the intersection of data, technology, and public policy. With staff in Washington, DC and Brussels, the Center formulates and promotes pragmatic public policies designed to maximize the benefits of data-driven innovation in the public and private sectors. It educates policymakers and the public about the opportunities and challenges associated with data, as well as technology trends such as predictive analytics, open data, cloud computing, and the Internet of Things. The Center is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research institute proudly affiliated with the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. For more about the Center, visit datainnovation.org.