As I learned at the National Retail Federation Conference earlier this year, the
America just got a new government and that often means new priorities. However, when it comes to technology, the issues facing leadership have been building for quite some time. The United States has some particularly important tech decisions to make right now.
Here are five hot topics the U.S. government will have to tackle in the near future.
Politics often dictate state and city autonomy from the federal government, but technology now requires a level of local independence to move forward. For instance, nationally-supported Smart City initiatives encourage hyper-connected local governments to provide better for their constituents. It is unclear how much the U.S. leadership will empower local decision making, but increasingly independent cities – and the billion-dollar startups within them – will make sure they have a seat in the national discussions.
National government initiatives have intrinsically linked healthcare and technology, but the issue goes much deeper than political leanings and societal insurance plans. First, it’s clear that wearables will have to be part of any future government-related healthcare data – which can conflict with HIPPA-compliance, among other standards. Second, the government already has its hands full pushing for national mandatory electronic medical records. The blooming market of health apps and virtual medical assistance will only make the conversations more complex.
Tech security has suddenly become a hot-button issue, not just among information technology experts, but for politicians, entrepreneurs, and non-tech sector leaders. How serious? Internationally, we will spend an estimated $170 billion on cybersecurity by 2020. The cybersecurity issue will become more intense as global platforms, from the rising Internet of Things to increasingly powerful social networks, make America more connected and, consequently, more exposed.
Here is an amazing statistic: Only two-thirds of Americans have broadband access at home. While the rise of mobile has empowered citizens, the U.S. still is not as connected as even some lesser-resource countries. The government is still working with some of the most important decisions about America’s connectivity future, from the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership to expanding the spectrum availability.
The prospect of literally every electronic device communicating with one another excites tech leaders – and makes governments understandably cautious. While cybersecurity is an obvious government priority, of equal concern is how we will upgrade to the IoT era — and how much of the infrastructure bill will government foot. As early as 2014, tech leaders have been pushing the government to give more IoT support – financially and otherwise. Now the conversation will hit fever pitch.