Internet of Things Bill passes in the US & why it matters for Australia

Geof Heydon
February 10, 2020

It seems like there is always big news coming from the United States of America (US), but you may have missed this one - the passing of the DIGIT Bill.

Known as the Developing and Growing the Internet of Things (DIGIT) Act, the Bill seeks to facilitate the growth of IoT technologies in the US.

This is a bipartisan Bill that paves the way for the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) to become law in the US. For Australia, it has consequences that could leave our Government in its wake.

As reported by Gigi Onag in FutureiOT news, the bill would convene a working group of federal entities and experts from the private and academic sectors tasked with providing recommendations to Congress on how to facilitate the growth of connected IoT technologies. The group’s recommendations would focus on how to plan for, and encourage, the development and deployment of the IoT in the US.

“With our bipartisan bill now one step closer to becoming law, we’ll be able to realise the full potential of the Internet of Things and help the private and public sectors work together to produce well-informed policies on connected technology,” said Senator Schatz.

“As America moves toward an increasingly connected future, the DIGIT Act will ensure that we remain a technological leader,” said Senator Fischer.

The DIGIT Act also directs the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to complete a report assessing spectrum needs required to support the Internet of Things

“As connected technology continues to evolve, it’s critical that Congress and the federal government leverage innovation developed in the private sector …This bill will improve coordination between the federal government and the technology industry and create opportunities for further deployment of secure IoT devices. I look forward to working with Senators Fischer, Booker, and Schatz to get this bill signed into law,” said Senator Gardner.

What does this mean for Australia?

The US has showed that they continue to be driven to lead the digital technology race globally - creating innovation, jobs and exports. By acting quickly, the Australian Government could establish a very similar focus to drive local innovation that too can create jobs and exports.

As early technology adopters, we could find ourselves leveraging US innovation rather than creating and exporting our own. Australia has unique problems to solve and if we drive to solve them ourselves then we can not only improve our outcomes, but we can leverage these skills to export high tech digital expertise and solutions.

This Bill should be a wake-up call for our own backyard and help drive the Internet of Things enabled future.

Geof Heydon is an expert consultant advising several cities on IoT and Smart Cities. He provides strategic and operational advice on telecommunication and IT infrastructure as well as architectures, policies, standards, data sharing, and the digital economy.

Astrolabe Group is a leader in collaboration management across governments and with the private sector. To talk to us about progressing the Internet of Things in your business contact us on [email protected].

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