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Senate “Internet of Things” Legislation Makes Manufacturers a Partner in Innovation Policy

March 2, 2016
Yesterday four Senators rolled out a bipartisan bill that, if passed, would form an Internet of Things working group at the Department of Commerce.

Yesterday, four senators rolled out a bipartisan bill that, if passed, would form an Internet of Things (IoT) working group at the Department of Commerce. The legislation, the Developing Innovation and Growing the Internet of Things (DIGIT) Act was introduced by Sens. Deb Fischer (R-NE), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Brian Schatz (D-HI). The bill would require Commerce to create a working group that would give Congress recommendations on how best to encourage IoT growth. 

The working group would include representatives from separate agencies including the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Federal Telecommunications Service, Office of Science and Technology Policy, National Telecommunications and Information Administration, Department of Transportation, National Institute of Standards and Technology and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  The group would also “consult with” industry and consumer groups—ideally giving sectors like manufacturing a seat at the table in IoT policy discussions. The bill also contains a reporting requirement for the FCC on spectrum needed to fuel IoT growth.

By introducing this legislation, Congress is acknowledging the integral role IoT plays in the economy by unleashing growth in all industries, including our own innovative sector.

The IoT is transforming manufacturing, and it’s important that the policies in Washington keep pace. Manufacturers cannot afford losing our leadership role in the digitally driven economy due to ill-advised legislation and regulation. Therefore, the NAM looks forward to working with Congress on efforts that ensure the government facilitates the growth of connected technology and includes manufacturers as a partner in the process.

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