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The Internet of Things gets much attention these days. In the consumer market, many people now wear devices that monitor their vital signs, sleep patterns, and steps walked in a day. So how does this relate to public sector? Is IoT even relevant for public sector, and if so, why?

The answer is yes! IoT has the potential to unlock US$ 930 billion to 1.66 trillion of value in cities by 2025 according to McKinsey Global Institute in their report “The Internet of Things: mapping the value beyond the hype” published in June 2015. IoT may improve livability in many areas, including infrastructure and asset management; traffic and transportation; citizen experience; and public safety and healthcare. The huge potential benefits justify government funding of IoT projects.

In September 2016, the White House announced a US$ 160 million Smart Cities Initiative to help communities tackle local challenges and improve services through IoT. The broad funding sources include Federal government, grants, cities partnering with local higher education institutions, and many other organizations supporting a diverse array of projects in healthcare, transportation, emergency response, and analytics surrounding them. 

Under the White House Smart Cities initiative, the US Department of Transportation announced the Smart City Challenge on December 7th, offering up to $40 million in funding to one mid-sized city that proposes bold, data-driven ideas to improve lives by making transportation safer, easier, and more reliable.  Proposals are due on February 4th, 2016.

The Government of the United Kingdom (UK) is already on the IoT bandwagon. On December 3, 2015, the UK Government announced that the City of Manchester won a £10 million prize to promote “Smart City” leadership.  The CityVerve project aims to improve services with IoT technology: devices, sensors, connectivity and analytics. The four key focus areas for IoT applications within CityVerve are: healthcare; transport; energy and environment; and culture and community. Here's another announcement on the Manchester CityVerve Project which names the participating entities.

The £10 million prize from the UK Government and Innovate UK is for a single collaborative research and development project to demonstrate the capability of applications at scale across a city region. The competition is part of a wider £40 million UK Government investment in IoT announced in March 2015 to make the UK an international leader in these innovative technologies.

Is the Internet of Things really the “next big Thing” in public sector?  This blogger thinks it has enormous potential limited only by our imaginations. 

Now that I’ve whetted your appetite, watch for another blog on Internet of Things customers and use cases in public sector- coming soon!

Thanks to Kelli Kitch and Rebecca Hughes for suggested blog titles.

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