Connected Government – how IoT will help manage assets, resources and people

By | 4 minute read | October 4, 2017

Connected government LS

Spoiler alert: Big Brother actually is watching, but not in the way you think. These days every federal agency is connected through a wide array of devices and sensors that collect data on many aspects of their operations. With the help of IBM Watson Internet of Things (IoT), this data is helping customers lead healthier and safer lives, and helping businesses remain competitive and become more profitable.

How can we turn IoT data into opportunity?

The key question: How can we turn that IoT data into opportunity? That exact question and many others were discussed at the recent Connected Government event in Washington, D.C. IBM and FCW brought together thought leaders from government and industries to discuss current and emerging IoT trends, the growing role of IoT as a platform for government innovation, and key challenges and business drivers that agencies should consider.

The event helped show attendees that IoT is in every industry on the planet. From government to appliances to facilities, smart health, connected industrial equipment, vehicles, elevators, ships, planes and more. In fact, IDC predicts that 22 billion devices will be installed by 2018, and IBM is currently helping with that via the 7,000-plus clients using its IoT software.

Chris O’Connor, General Manager of IBM Watson IoT Offerings, outlined use cases of customers who are currently exploring opportunities of digital transformation with their IoT data. He explained that the three major outcomes of IoT are the ability to improve operations and lower costs, enhance customer experience, and transform and generate new revenue streams.

Being connected and gathering new data is the way of the future and is impacting every industry. But all that technology and data doesn’t mean anything if you aren’t deriving value from it. With the help of IBM, companies can now determine the health, well-being or functionality of a ‘thing’ to predict when something is going to break or stop working. As Chris stated, “being able to get ahead of the game is what helps keep the world running.”

He shared a few success stories of key customers who are already benefiting from connected devices.


The U.S. Army’s Logistics Support Activity operation (LOGSA) is using IBM for Watson IoT, predictive analytics, and cognitive computing to create better visibility into performance. Leveraging Watson IoT for Manufacturing to discern optimal repair methods helps them take proactive maintenance measures, decreasing downtime by 20 percent. It also helps create new efficiencies that save about $15 million per year in operational costs.

Energy and Utilities

DTE Energy, which delivers electricity to more than 2 million customers in southeast Michigan, is leveraging an IoT for Energy solution to implement an analytics roadmap in support of asset health and reliability. The utility is now able to ensure that the power is always on with predictive analytics and maintenance from Watson IoT for Energy.


Sodexo shifted to a SaaS Facilities Management solution to more efficiently manage more than 1.2 million assets in more than 24,000 buildings. Sodexo is seeing a 20 percent reduction in total cost of ownership, and the company is leveraging SaaS to decrease its fixed costs by 15 percent.


A key benefit of this connectivity is enabling businesses to talk to their clients, in some cases for the first time. For example, Whirlpool’s use of a distribution network meant that the company never really talked directly to its own customers. By adding a sensor chip to its machines, Whirlpool was able to see how they were working, which gave the company the ability to interact more effectively with end users. Not only could Whirlpool predict potential maintenance problems before they happened, but by better understanding how its customers were using their machines, the company could continue to tweak its functionality to better serve the end user. IoT made this possible, and for the first time ever company and consumer were connected.

Travel & Transport

IBM and Maersk have built a new global trade digitization solution using blockchain. The solution is designed to help reduce fraud and errors, reduce the time products spend in the transit and shipping process, improve inventory management and ultimately reduce waste and cost. IBM and Maersk worked with a number of trading partners, logistics companies and government authorities to manage and track the paper trail of tens of millions of shipping containers across the world by digitizing the supply chain process. Blockchain formed a digital signature that monitored the integrity of the containers. When adopted at scale, the solution has the potential to save the industry billions of dollars.

IoT is helping to change the culture of government in ways we never thought possible. And if Big Brother is watching, learning and growing, how is your organization planning to evolve? Are you prepared for IoT? And if you are, what will you do with the data once you have it?

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