Bask Iyer Urges Congress to Support Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) has created a buzz across the tech economy, and in Washington D.C., Congress and the Administration are considering policies and standards to advance the IoT economy.  

In September, VMware’s Chief Information Officer, Bask Iyer, visited Washington, D.C. to meet with key policymakers, including several Senators, Members of Congress, and the Obama Administration officials to discuss VMware’s view on IoT and the importance of security and flexibility within the IoT ecosystem. During his visit to Capitol Hill, Iyer participated in a congressional panel before the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s bipartisan IoT Working Group. The bipartisan IoT working group has held a series of forums to better understand cars, manufacturing, security, and infrastructure as they relate to IoT.  

Opportunity to Lead IoT

During his discussions with key policymakers, Iyer highlighted the current opportunity the United States has to lead a global wave of IoT innovation.

“We applaud congressional efforts to meet with experts and stakeholders to better understand the benefits and the complexities of IoT,” said Iyer in his opening statement to Members of Congress. “We are at the cusp of an intelligent world that connects almost every facet of our daily lives,” he said. “The United States has the opportunity to drive worldwide growth and innovation with smart policies that advance the IoT economy.”

IoT is growing at an extraordinary rate. According to IDC, there are currently 13 billion connected “things.” IDC expects that number to surge to 30 billion by 2020.

Considering these immense numbers, Iyer emphasized the need for infrastructure—platforms, people, and processes—to provide both control and security for IoT.

Security and Flexibility Are Key Principles

“Security is the linchpin to the future of IoT. If consumers, enterprises, and the federal government don’t believe their data and privacy are protected, they’ll be hesitant to adopt new technologies no matter how efficient they are,” Iyer explained. “We can’t just let these ‘things’ sneak into the IT environment without a plan.” Iyer continued his address to the congressional panel, explaining where and how security comes into play with IoT, and why it is of paramount concern. Iyer also stressed the need for public-private partnerships to provide funding for IoT research and development.  

“IoT gateways are an integral part of the IoT infrastructure. They bridge, but also decouple, the physical IoT devices from management components in data centers. This bridge allows data and control to move freely and securely from the device to the cloud or a data center.” With this bridge, however, comes vulnerability. Therefore, Iyer continued, “We will need secure IoT gateways to ensure data and information are secured as they move through the IoT pipeline.”

In highlighting the importance of security and flexibility, Bask discussed VMware’s ongoing efforts around IoT, including that VMware recently brought to market a vendor-neutral, open-source project referred to as Liota (Little IoT Agent). Liota is a software development kit (SDK) for building secure IoT gateway data and control applications—a working example of a non-proprietary solution that supports industry-wide IoT growth.

As more and more attention in Washington turns to policy and standards around IoT, the opportunity grows for VMware to be a strategic partner to the federal government and to VMware customers in ensuring IoT security and flexibility. VMware stands ready to continue to work with policymakers to advance key principles and best practices that promote a robust IoT ecosystem moving forward.