The Internet of Everything & Small Business Opportunities

Feb 26, 2015
An illustration concept showing The Internet of Things

In 1995, the World Wide Web, which had been fairly niche up until then, attracted mainstream attention. What followed were 20 years of business and social innovations in how we humans chose to use the web at work, school, at home, and with our friends. The web and its “Web 2.0” successor allowed us to access, provide, remix, and exchange information in ways previously limited by time and space.

Now, twenty years after Netscape Navigator 1.0, the Internet of Everything (IoE) stands posed to begin a similar transformation in how we do business and interact as a society. Whereas the web and “web 2.0” movements connected humans and allowed us to share and remix information, the IoE will connect everything in our lives – our cars, our home appliances, our clothing, and more.

Those businesses that identify a way to translate IoE into beneficial realities for consumers will create new markets. In theory, this will allow for more automation in our daily lives, freeing humans to focus on creative work. Also in theory the IoE will allow great personalization in the goods and services we buy. For small businesses, the available customer base available is about to become global — while at the same time more personally tailored, too.

Resiliency and Opportunities with the IoE:

During his personal travels as an Eisenhower Fellow in Taiwan and Australia, David has had the opportunity to interact with industry and government leaders in both countries regarding possible strategies to encourage more beneficial opportunities for all with the IoE. His conversations have emphasized the need for forethought now, at the early adoption stage, regarding how privacy and security both will be protected with the IoE. Such forethought includes considering how to bake-in resiliency protections for small businesses that would use the IoE to engage in customer transactions. One suggestion, raised during travels in Taiwan, was that perhaps a “cyber public health” approach to the IoE could protect privacy and improve resiliency.

Nagesh also has had the opportunity to engage with small businesses, including Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Grant recipients. Robotics Research, for instance, is currently developing intelligent design response systems to aid in disaster relief scenarios. This effort includes using smart robotics and 3D printers to improve disaster relief responses. As a different example, Lift Labs focus is to help people with neurological disorders operate simple utensils like a fork or a spoon. Utilizing an active noise cancelling sensor system, a user experiencing hand tremors can handle the spoon. Both of these early efforts are examples of how the IoE will offer new small business opportunities aided through SBIR Grants.


Given the IoE is estimated to grow to be anywhere between 50 to 200 billion network devices by 2020, as a world we are posed for another round of new opportunities and challenges similar to the changes we saw when the web went mainstream in 1995. More changes, as well as increasing availability of the internet on a global scale, will undoubtedly occur in the years ahead.

Given this timely topic of interest, the team from Digital Gov is looking to discuss these various issues, using policy, programmatic, and knowledge-sharing lenses at the upcoming Citizens Services Summit 2015. In fact, you can actually vote for there to be further discussion of IoE during the event. Some deliberate forethought now regarding the IoE may help encourage a future with more beneficial opportunities for us all.Authors’ Note: These views are of personal nature and do not necessarily reflect those of previous or current affiliations of the authors. Any examples cited here are for the purposes of highlighting the Internet of Everything (IoE) with no endorsement implied. _This post was originally published on LinkedIn Pulse. The post was written in a personal capacity by the authors, G. Nagesh Rao, Chief Technologist for the US Small Business Administration, and David A. Bray, Chief Information Officer for the Federal Communications Commission, and does not reflect the views or endorsement of any government entities.