Towards a Smart Policy Framework for Fostering IoT Innovation and Adoption: Analysis of Field Interviews and Public Comments

17 Pages Posted: 15 Mar 2018 Last revised: 16 Aug 2018

Date Written: March 15, 2018


The Internet of Things (IoT) is transforming the way we live, work, do business, and meet the needs of the public. While IoT’s potential to contribute to economic growth and social welfare is indisputable, its success is not guaranteed. IoT faces numerous technical, social, legal, and policy challenges, ranging from interoperability and spectrum availability to cybersecurity and privacy. These challenges can and should be addressed by the joint efforts of a wide range of stakeholders from the public and private sector. The potential benefits of IoT depend in part on how policymakers respond to the opportunities and challenges associated with it. IoT is unique and different from previous IT innovations in that, with IoT applications, cyber risks are transferred to risks in physical systems. Furthermore, many IoT products are often created by consumer goods manufacturers rather than IT firms. This research aims to identify effective policies and strategies for fostering IoT innovation and adoption. To this end, we use a two-phase approach to collecting data. In the first phase, we conduct interviews with managers of technology companies and government officials. We interviewed 8 senior managers and 4 government officials. In the second phase, we collect the public comments in response to the notice and request for comments on the benefits, challenges, and potential roles for the government in fostering the advancement of the Internet of Things published by National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) on April 6, 2016. The length of each document of public comments ranges from one page to 51 pages with an average of 16.8 pages. We downloaded all of the 137 documents that were posted on NTIA’s website. These text data was open coded independently by the author and a graduate student to discover recurrent themes on policy recommendations. Nvivo software was used to identify keywords that appear most frequently. The two coders discussed similarities and differences of their coding results and resolved differences by consensus. The Cohen’s kappa of the coding is 0.77, which is above the required level of reliability. Combining results of analysis of interview data and public comments, we discovered recurring themes for policy recommendations. The author and a graduate student jointly discussed all these themes identified. Our preliminary results produce the following policies and strategies for fostering IoT innovation and adoption: • General policy principles; - Government should strive to develop a consistent, coordinated regulatory framework. - Government should adopt a light-touch approach. - Government should not regulate based on speculation, but on strong evidence. - Government should not promote country-specific regulations or requirements. • Specific policies and strategies; - Government should facilitate development of international standards. - Government should address spectrum issues. - Government should promote the security by design and the privacy by design approaches. - Government should promote adoption of IPv6. - Government should make public sector data freely accessible. - Government should advocate free data flow across borders. • Governance and process; - Government should foster international coordination, collaboration, and engagement. - Government should facilitate interagency coordination.

Keywords: Internet of Things, policy, regulation, government, content analysis, qualitative research

Suggested Citation

Lee, Gwanhoo, Towards a Smart Policy Framework for Fostering IoT Innovation and Adoption: Analysis of Field Interviews and Public Comments (March 15, 2018). TPRC 46: The 46th Research Conference on Communication, Information and Internet Policy 2018. Available at SSRN: or

Gwanhoo Lee (Contact Author)

American University ( email )

4400 Massachusetts Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20016
United States
202-885-1991 (Phone)

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