My Big Idea: IoT for Everyone

I’m very excited to speak at Collaborate this year. The topic I’ll discuss has the potential to change public sector operations in countless ways. For quite some time you’ve heard the term “internet of things.” Somewhat of a buzz term I know, but from where I sit we’re finally starting to see some of the more farfetched IoT concepts become real.

So where do it sit? I sit in local government. As the Chief Innovation Officer for Montgomery County, Maryland, I work closely with agencies delivering direct service to residents. On a daily basis I work with fire fighters, inspectors, police, nurses, teachers and many other public servants. I also interact with researchers from Harvard, MIT, UC-Irvine, University of Maryland, NIST, and many other research institutions. Part of my job is to be the bridge between the front line and the laboratory. What I’m finally starting to see on the horizon are affordable, connected devices that increase safety, improve health, and provide critical information to first responders. The public sector plays an important role in making that a reality. That’s why we’ve created the Thingstitute.

The Thingstitute is our living laboratory for the internet of things. It brings together research institutions, private companies and real world test beds to improve the likelihood of success for research projects and new products. The ultimate goal is to create a diverse ecosystem of devices, draw data from those devices into an open platform, and then build applications to help the public sector deliver services. This conversation is not just happening locally or nationally, but globally. It’s not just about picking standards and protocols, but delivering the benefits of IoT to everyone. The most vulnerable among us have the most to gain from smart cities and connected devices. From people aging in place to kids on a school bus, the technology now exists to improve quality of life without draining public coffers. The Thingstitute will be on the forefront of testing, proving and demonstrating those technologies in real world environments.

That’s what I’m excited to tell you more about at Collaborate. 

Dan Hoffman is the first Chief Innovation Officer for Montgomery County, Maryland. In this role he is responsible for managing a civic laboratory for pilot, prototype and proof of concept projects. You can reach him @mocodanhoffman.

By Daniel Hoffman

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