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At a recent Information Technology Industry Council Tech Showcase (ITIC) event in Washington, D.C., hundreds of politicos, government executives, industry magnates and Washington insiders had the opportunity to get hands on experience with high tech gadgets from over 40 companies including Google, Intel, Microsoft, Toyota and SAP. The theme of the event was The Internet of Things (IoT) and there was no shortage of innovation on display. From Intel’s use of drones to monitor oil pipelines to Texas Instrument’s enhanced driving experience, attendees were able to dabble in the near future enabled by IoT.

The big hit of the show was SAP’s Smart Vending Machine, which wowed senators, governors and other attendees with its user friendly interface and ability to offer a personalized shopping experience. SAP’s presence at shows like the ITIC Tech Showcase involves much more than just a branding exercise, according to Kevin Richards, Head of U.S. Government Relations, SAP.


“The Internet of Things has become the latest big discussion on Capitol Hill and the White House,” said Richards. “There’s been a lot of activity in Washington, D.C. among U.S. government officials as they discuss the potential benefits, risks and overall business model.”

Congress' growing interest in the topic comes as the number of Internet-connected devices tops 25 billion worldwide, according to a new report by the Federal Trade Commission. That number is expected to double by 2020 to 50 billion, according to experts cited by the report. The White House has also been engaging the public and private sectors to explore the tangible benefits of the IoT around transportation, emergency services, health care, security, energy conservation, and manufacturing.

Opportunities such as the ITIC Tech Showcase help SAP remain competitive in the IoT market, according to Richards.

“SAP will continue to demonstrate, unlock and demystify our cutting-edge innovations to help educate policymakers so they can better understand this growing field and support sound public policies that will enhance its future development,” said Kevin. “There’s much education that is needed among government officials on the IoT and SAP intends to be a leader in this area for years to come.”

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