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The emerging Internet of things will impact many facets of lives, so we need to make sure that it is built in a structured, robust way. That entails cooperation between vendors, the creation of standards, and a certain amount of regulation.

We’re already seeing organizations such as the Allseen Alliance emerge to enable cooperation across the private sector. But the focus of these groups is primarily on increasing and accelerating adoption of IoT. We believe this idea needs to expand beyond the business world and become a priority among governmental bodies that have more sway to implement the IoT initiatives that will have far reaching impacts on both our business and personal lives.

Intertwining the public and private sectors is critical. The government needs to play a role in the development of IoT, not just to enact and execute on strong policies to foster innovation but also to provide a sense of security to our citizens when they are confronted with privacy and security issues.

The strong need for cross collaboration is why we cofounded the Illinois Technology Association’s Internet of Things Council. We’ve taken on a commitment to leverage relationships across the public, private, and academic sectors to provide the backbone for the developing IoT in Chicago and the Midwest.

The Council, formed in April, has a diverse group of participants — just take a look at the roster – and will focus its initial efforts on identifying an inventory of IoT companies in the region as well as IoT projects that have been done by Midwest companies so we can have a good understanding of our starting point. We will also be staging the 3rd Annual IoT Summit in Chicago this coming November. (The Summit is a put on by the Illinois Technology Association, the ITA, of which the Council is an offshoot.)

The IoT Summit is one aspect of the ITA’s commitment to education and it will be complemented by webinars and additional events throughout the year to help develop a deeper understanding of the value of IoT. Last, we have initiated a conference on IoT investing in Chicago (the day after the Summit) that will involve public and private IoT companies and investors. We expect to expand these efforts more broadly by the fall based on the enormous interest we have seen from the community in getting behind these efforts.

While we are aggressively pursuing IoT and our effort in Chicago is a first of its kind in North America, we hope to see other cities begin to mobilize as well. We’ve already seen some North American IoT initiatives kick off with government backing and a focus on the needs and rights of citizens, including the Cisco Innovation Center in Toronto, the pay phones turning into wireless hubs in New York, and a number of other new initiatives. These kinds of programs are needed here in the United States, and unfortunately will not come together unless see strong relationships forged by all parties.

Don DeLoach is CEO and President of Infobright.

Brenna Berman is CIO of the city of Chicago.


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