In yesterday's Government Technology article, "The Internet of Things Comes to Government", 56% of senior level survey responders said that they had no Internet of Things projects underway or didn't know of any. In reality, government is full of internet of things projects and has been for some time. Probably the most significant work is happening in transportation and natural resources, but it doesn't begin or stop there. Here are a few areas:
- Transit - Real-time data from government-supported transit systems is everywhere. Fortunately, most of these systems are making this data available through live APIs. We're already seeing apps pop up in the Android and iOS app markets following UTA's announcement making their APi public for real-time bus tracking. An FAQ for this resource is available to developers. There's even one to support SIRI requests.
- Intelligent Transportation Systems - UDOT's traffic app for iOS gives you an idea about how connected transportation systems are and why UDOT supports an extensive fiber network. From your phone you get real-time access to an extensive network of cameras and sensor data that monitors Utah's highways 24x7. Utah reports on its lessons learned with ITS through the USDOT.
- Streamflow Monitoring - The Utah Water Science Center (USGS) monitors real-time stream flows, water quality, and also supports the Utah Active Water Level Network, which carefully tracks the levels of Utah's critical groundwater resources. You can get a nationwide view at http://groundwaterwatch.usgs.gov.
- Weather Information - Road Weather Information Systems (RWIS) have been around for a while, but are getting increasingly sophisticated and pervasive, finding new ways to present and integrate the data with other systems.
These are only the beginning, but the Internet of Things has huge potential for public health, agriculture, public safety, environmental quality, and just about everything else that government does.
I met with a group of Utah CTOs last week and the conversation was dominated by Internet of Things topics. We discussed new trends in sensor interfaces and integration, technologies like Netduino and Arduino that are bringing computing to new areas that can all be connected and interfaced with. The ability to connect with the real world through technologies like Kinect offers additional potential for digital government in the future.