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Industry insights and technology trends for a modern, citizen-centric government powered by cloud

  • IoT
    July 7, 2016

Connected Government and the Internet of Things

Poised to create the next industrial revolution, the Internet of Things (IoT) is helping government agencies utilize data more effectively to create better outcomes. IoT is a technology tipping point influencing capabilities in all levels of government. Further, IoT can help agencies cut costs and accelerate IT modernization efforts. This includes advancements with more scalable and tightly integrated systems; and software that drives new requirements for storage, analytics, cloud, and data management.

In the age of connected government, near real-time information is key to creating new outcomes, driving faster, more informed decisions, and delivering innovative capabilities. Traditionally, governments were limited to sourcing data through human engagement, studies, or observations. However, rapid advancement of sensor technology is creating more ways to collect and leverage data. Intelligent endpoint devices or “machines” collect data based on their specific purpose or mission and send a payload upstream to upstream applications or systems. These data rich interactions are playing an increasingly crucial role in the development of next-generation government operations and services, spanning everything from smart cities to advanced military applications.

Data-Driven Government Capabilities and Services

Initial interest and early adoption of exploratory IoT use cases are serving as the proving ground for innovation and evolution, supporting the changing awareness of government at all levels. With devices getting smarter and more capable of addressing physical constraints like power and weight, IoT quickly launched into reality. Now use cases and possibilities include everything from critical infrastructure monitoring to situational awareness and critical services. Through the power and importance of real-time data, government agencies are able to make faster, more informed decisions. 

IoT offers agencies these vital data-driven benefits: 

  • Provides a variety of types of data to key government decision makers
  • Fosters cross-agency collaboration and information sharing
  • Facilitates joint participation from citizens and agencies

Now You See It, Now You Don’t…

While the promise and benefits of IoT are exciting, government IT leaders are now also faced with new challenges and policy decisions—such as privacy, security, and scaling infrastructure to support more end point devices. One of the challenges is that some IoT devices only require network connectivity for a few seconds to deliver their data payload before returning to a dormant state; while others are constantly connected delivering a continuous supply of streaming, unstructured data. 

IoT Security – Defense in Depth

As an extension of an agency’s trusted computing environment, IoT devices of all types must be implemented with security in mind. Each IoT device can come with its own data and security risks. A security strategy can help reduce the risk that the presence of either an IoT device or communication with the device introduces new vulnerabilities. Data collected and sent by IoT devices could even contain sensitive information, requiring meeting certain compliance and regulation mandates (i.e. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act).

For government agencies, security considerations must not be thought of as an add-on to the deployment of an IoT device, but rather be a mandatory consideration in the testing and evaluation phase of the device and associated use case. They should seek to address data protection across the IoT solution, including data-at-rest within the IoT device hardware and operating system, as well as in the upstream systems in silicon through encryption and extending through hardware and software layers of an agency’s converged IT infrastructure stack. 

IoT and the Government Data Infrastructure

The growing influx of IoT devices may challenge government agencies at all levels. Specifically, virtualization and integration of infrastructure services provide the scale and reach to handle the potential of billions of intelligent, connected things. As the data platform of government agencies, converged infrastructure systems should be capable of providing a full slate of services, from virtualized data storage and processing to security features in operating systems, middleware, and applications. This is vital to support an agency’s broad IoT deployment objectives. 

IoT and the Cloud

To support all profiles, types, and locations of IoT devices, an agency’s data platform capabilities should extend infrastructure services through a public, hybrid, or private cloud service. To allow for maximum flexibility and optimized use of virtual resources, an agency’s IoT cloud computing service should provide middleware support of the IoT infrastructure gateway and offer data management functions. The IoT cloud service should be a platform-as-a-service (PaaS), providing a rich set of functionality for creating IoT applications.

In implementing an IoT cloud-enabled service, an agency should ensure it is capable of:

  • Ingesting the message, as well as enrichment, storage, and stream processing for near real-time analytics
  • Dispatching messages to external systems such as a database, another cloud service or an external application
  • Managing identities, security policies, and credentials
  • Managing software assets on devices running the IoT Cloud Service Gateway, enabling distributed intelligence

Oracle’s IoT Capabilities in Government 

Oracle enables agencies to develop and deliver IoT services with a common foundation of services that include security features and can connect, analyze, and integrate near real-time IoT data. 

Oracle’s cloud solutions are part of a more extensive cloud offering that includes infrastructure-as-a-service and platform-as-a-service technologies, and a rich portfolio of IoT applications with self service provisioning. Oracle delivers single vendor accountability for agencies’ end-to-end IoT needs. 

Oracle offers enterprise-grade IoT capabilities that include high performance, elastic scalability, and security controls. Further, Oracle’s solution is comprised of an integrated “all-in-one” platform that provides the essential device connectivity, event analytics, and enterprise connectivity capabilities required for an effective IoT strategy. 
Oracle can manage the large number of devices and volume of data expected with IoT, enabling government agencies to:

  • Connect and control IoT devices
  • Rapidly deploy IoT-focused preventive and predictive analytics
  • Optimize business processes with process automation and pre-built integrations across multiple enterprise applications

Oracle has built holistic, enterprise-grade solutions from hardware through software layers to accommodate various government missions and tackle countless data challenges. By properly leveraging these capabilities, agencies can securely collect data from integrated devices within their enterprise, perform near real-time predictive analytics on IoT streams and events, and seamlessly extend agency enterprise applications and processes with IoT data. Most importantly, Oracle can facilitate agencies’ journey to improved outcomes and transformed mission objectives through more informed data driven decisions.

To learn more about Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, please contact Amit Sharma at amitab.sharma@oracle.com

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