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State and Local IoT Activity Heats Up

NASCIO poll and local efforts in Salt Lake City and Lexington, Ky., point to uptick in IoT planning.

One takeaway from last week’s NASCIO conference is that state and local CIOs are beginning to think more about the Internet of Things as a tool for improving government performance.

A formal survey released during the conference and informal polling conducted during the event showed similar results: A majority of CIOs are investigating how the emerging IoT will impact government operations, although most of that activity is in the preliminary stages.

The formal state CIO survey -- conducted by NASCIO, Grant Thornton and CompTIA – found that 53 percent of respondents are “investigating IoT in state government with informal discussions.” Eighteen percent said those discussions were occurring in a more formal way. The survey collected responses for 47 states, primarily from state CIOs.

A quick poll of CIOs in the audience at the conference in Salt Lake City found that 52 percent are in the planning stage for IoT-powered smart government initiatives, while 27 percent said they’re already working on these types of projects.

CIOs may not have the IoT fully figured out yet, but there’s growing interest in adopting the concept in innovative ways.

“We want to leapfrog into smart state technology,” said Illinois CIO Hardik Bhatt, during a NASCIO panel discussion on smart cities and states. “In Illinois we have smart state projects that are spread out among agencies. We need to bring that all under one umbrella.”

Although smart city initiatives get most of the attention, Bhatt says there are plenty of opportunities for smart state efforts.

Internally states can harness a combination of sensor data, analytics software and mobile platforms to transform major program areas such as health care, transportation and corrections, Bhatt said. And externally, states will influence local and regional efforts through policy decisions on education, broadband and other issues.

Bhatt was joined on the NASCIO panel by two local CIOs who are ramping up smart city activities. Salt Lake City CIO Bill Haight and Lexington, Ky., CIO Aldona Valicenti both said they’re in the early stages of using the IoT to improve city services. Each of them talked with Government Technology about their plans.

Salt Lake City Ponders Smart City Plan

Haight says Salt Lake City is working with several of its current technology providers to build a business case for smart city deployments.


Lexington Looks for Bandwidth

Valicenti says expanding broadband connectivity is key to Lexington’s deployment of smart city technology. The city is exploring models for improving high-speed Internet access, including bringing fiber to the homes of Lexington residents.


Noelle Knell has been the editor of Government Technology magazine for e.Republic since 2015. She has more than two decades of writing and editing experience, covering public projects, transportation, business and technology. A California native, she has worked in both state and local government, and is a graduate of the University of California, Davis, with majors in political science and American history. She can be reached via email and on Twitter.