Connected devices already are making headway into business and consumer markets. “Smart” speakers, video doorbells, remote programmable thermostats and other devices are increasing in popularity in homes across the United States. Major automakers and startups are pursuing self-driving cars and the “passenger economy.” Businesses are using IoT capabilities to enhance preventive maintenance, to track assets through the production cycle and to gain insights into consumer behavior.

Now, the federal government is trying to provide resources for businesses engaged in the Internet of Things (“IoT”) economy. Building on guidelines it established for cybersecurity generally and IoT cybersecurity specifically, the National Institute for Standards and Technology (“NIST”), a division of the U.S. Department of Commerce, held a workshop for manufacturers on securing IoT devices. I attended the workshop and these are my principal takeaways from the meeting.


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On December 7, 2015, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) issued a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for “Beyond Traffic: The Smart City Challenge,” the first in a two-part solicitation for a federally funded program aimed at developing “a holistic, integrated approach to improving surface transportation performance within a city and integrating this approach to improving smart city domains such as public safety, public services, and energy.”  DOT will award $40 million to one mid-sized city that demonstrates how it will use the funds to address challenges such as congestion, safety, climate change, and improving connections with underserved communities.  Broadband providers that are considering deploying or expanding their networks in mid-sized cities may want to consider partnering with an eligible applicant to use some of the funds to either deploy new broadband infrastructure or add increased capacity to the existing network to accommodate new technology such as connected cars.  Initial applications for this grant opportunity are due on February 4, 2016.  DOT will then narrow the field to five finalists, and make a selection in June 2016.

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