House Urges 'National Strategy' for IoT Development

Resolution mirrors Senate call for innovation and consumer protection
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A resolution calling for "a national strategy for the Internet of Things to promote economic growth and consumer empowerment" was adopted almost unanimously last week by the House of Representatives.

H.Res. 847mirrors a Senate resolution (S. Res. 110) unanimously adopted in March, calling for the federal government to promote public-private initiatives to accelerate IoT development.

The bipartisan House resolution calls for federal policies to "prioritize accelerating the development and deployment of the Internet of Things in a way that recognizes its benefits, allows for future innovation, and responsibly protects against misuse."  Rep. Leonard Lance (R-N.J.), who is vice chair of the House Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade subcommittee and sits on the Communications and Technology subcommittee, introduced theresolution, which was adopted just weeks after it was submitted. Co-sponsors are Reps. Yvette Clark (D-N.Y.), Robert Latta (R-Ohio) and Peter Welch (D-V.t). The earlier Senate resolution was backed by Sens. Cory A. Booker (D-N.J.,  Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and  Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii).

Daniel Castro, director of the non-profit Center for Data Innovation,compared this Congressional attention to IoT with the Federal Communication Commission's National Broadband Plan of 2010, which he said "helped coordinate and accelerate the deployment of broadband Internet."

"A national strategy for the Internet of Things will ensure that the United States positions itself to capture the considerable economic and social benefits of this important technology," Castro said.  He commended the value of a federal plan "designed in concert with public and private sector stakeholders to accelerate deployment of the technology and overcome regulatory barriers that limit its growth.

"Now that Congress has formally expressed its support for a national strategy," Castro added, "the Obama administration, and its successor, should act quickly to launch an effort to develop one."

Rep. Lance, whose Congressional district includes tech firms such as Qualcomm, Nokia and Verizon that are involved in IoT activities, said "our role in Congress should be to help make the Internet of Things thrive, to facilitate a federal support system that empowers exciting new ideas."

"This is really at the heart of what we should be doing in Congress in a bipartisan capacity: getting ahead of the curve on the future of technology in the United States," Lance said.

A spokesman in Lance's office told Multichannel News that "the resolution raised a lot of awareness, which was the whole idea."  There is no indication that any further action will be taken in the waning days of the 114th Congress.

Rep. Michael Clifton Burgess (R-Texas), who chairs the  Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade Subcommittee of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, called IoT a "kind of a novel concept" as he extolled it as a "significant opportunity for economic growth and for innovation" in remarks on the House floor.

"As a physician...I see great potential for the Internet of Things, particularly in the healthcare space," Burgess said. "Connected healthcare devices help reduce healthcare costs and other health-related expenses that have long been a drag on our economy and on consumers' wallets." He said a national strategy can encourage more effective and efficient IoT development and "will foster more consumer confidence, more consumer trust, and more consumer acceptance in the Internet of Things."

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), also a member of the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade, observed that "technology is moving at a rapid pace, and our laws need to keep pace."

"With passing this resolution, we are setting the table for future work to make sure that we encourage these developments," she said.

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