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XChange SLED Speaker: Municipal IoT Adoption Driven By Technology Advances, Public Demand

A steady revenue stream, disruptive technology and robust public demand has fueled state and local government interest around the Internet of Things, according to an industry expert.

A steady revenue stream, disruptive technology and robust public demand has fueled state and local government interest around the Internet of Things, according to an industry expert speaking at XChange SLED, hosted by CRN parent The Channel Company.

Government entities will buy smart devices as part of their usual facilities refresh, meaning that existing revenue streams will pay for IoT-enabled products over time, according to Chris Dixon, senior manager of state and local industry analysis for Herndon, Va.-based Deltek.

"You're going to see these [IoT-enabled] things moving into the government space, though they're not going to be looking for them specifically," Dixon said. "They're just going to be coming in as they come to market."

[Related: XChange SLED Speaker: Agile Software Development Is Making Waves In State Government]

For instance, when a government entity needs to refresh its fleet of vehicles, Dixon said they're likely to opt for automobiles with GIS-based tools and embedded intelligent software that officials can leverage as part of their management of the overall fleet.

The only market driver that IoT lacks is a policy mandate forcing government officials to buy sensor-enabled devices, Dixon said. Congressional mandates, city council directives, or executive orders from a mayor or governor focused on areas such as body-worn cameras, parking apps or code enforcement can often drive major technology spending, Dixon said.

Conversely, technological advances in recent years have been IoT both affordable and much more widespread for state and local government, Dixon said. Specifically, he said IPv6, less expensive sensors, pervasive bandwidth, and light OSes that operate smart devices have collectively spurred much more IoT activity.

Customers have additionally been clamoring for government to incorporate more IoT into their ecosystem to boost convenience and cost-effectiveness for the taxpayers, Dixon said. The litany of consumer-grade IoT devices that means end users are quite familiar with the technology, he said.

"There are not that many occasions where the public really forces an entity to go out and buy something," Dixon said. "It's only in rare instances where something like that comes around."

Interest in IoT has also been driven by utility companies and municipalities themselves to, for instance, ensure that the newly-installed LED lights are functioning without having to wait for city residents to report an outage, Dixon said. Streetlight replacement has just been going crazy over all America, Dixon said, as municipalities adopt internet-enabled devices.

Public sector solution providers wanting to play in SLED must ascertain when devices or facilities are slated to be refreshed so that they can offer to replace them with an intelligent solution, Dixon said.


Hot markets are also highly coordinated, Dixon said, with similar buyers seeking similar solutions to address common policy concerns. They are also geographically widespread so that the technology solution can address a nationwide malady rather than just a local or regional one, Dixon said.

Finally, the buyers in hot markets are typically operating with a heightened level of urgency, Dixon said, meaning that the government entity might expedite their normal procurement process to ensure they obtain the IT offering within the next year or two.

Selectron has seen both public demand and policy mandates for smart meters so that municipalities can move away from using meter readers, according to Executive Vice President Dan Porter.

The Portland, Ore.-based solution provider has found that cities are looking to provide their residents with more mobile functionality and around-the-clock self-service, Porter said. As a result, Porter said Selectron has been brought in to host and manage municipal payment systems in a PCI-complaint manner.

Porter said the "hot market" framework provided by Dixon aligns well with how Selectron goes to market today.

"It perfectly describes how our business has been built," Porter said.

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