In the late 1990s, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) emerged as a cutting-edge technology. VoIP, occasionally called Internet telephony or IP telephony, is the practice of sending voice data packets from one IP address to another over the Internet instead of via traditional phone networks.
Originally developed to work around long-distance and international telephone charges, it soon grew to include regular domestic calls as well. By the time Skype exploded onto the scene in 2003, more than 25 percent of all calls were already made using VoIP.
Today, everything from your refrigerator to your watch can be connected to an IP address. This trend is only growing with the emergence of the Internet of Everything (IoE), which is the networked connection of people, processes, devices and data. But it’s more than just personal technology, as the public sector is embracing IoE as well.
More government employees and devices are connecting, which means more data is shared on the network.
Over the past 20 years, we’ve transitioned from Voice over IP to Everything over IP (EoIP), which is really what IoE represents. Enhanced connectivity transforms how government agencies use network-based solutions to achieve mission success. For example, the Department of Defense has added connected sensors to helmets, vehicles, weapons and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to enable real-time awareness of what’s happening on the ground.
This isn’t necessarily a new tactic for DOD: In 2008, the Army mounted sensors in troops’ helmets to collect data on brain injuries suffered during combat. Today, DOD is incorporating new connected applications for base facilities management, vehicle management, logistics and transportation to create information advantage throughout the battlespace.
Our transition to an EoIP environment changes the healthcare industry as well. Hospitals can use applications to send patients automatic text message reminders for upcoming appointments. This simple solution reduces the amount of missed appointments and enables doctors and nurses to use their time most efficiently.
Also, the sharing of personal health data securely over IP allows patients to be increasingly mobile and ensures health care professionals are aware of a patient’s medical history, no matter where they are.
However, while improved sharing and connectivity offers benefits such as reduced costs and time savings, it also presents increased cybersecurity risks for government agencies.
The stakes are especially high at the federal level, given the large amount of citizen information and sensitive intelligence agencies keep.
Healthcare and defense agencies, in particular, face increased cyber threats from individual hackers and nation states, and growing security risks accompany the need to access and share information from anywhere in real time.
To secure networks and data, federal agencies need to understand today’s evolving threat landscape and create comprehensive cross-department solutions that help identify and mitigate threats. With the right approach to cybersecurity, agencies can realize real value from new network connections while maintaining data privacy and network security.
The Internet of Everything can be a confusing and scary concept, but many people felt the same way about VoIP when it was introduced. The reality is IoE is EoIP, connecting the unconnected to offer new capabilities, richer experiences and unprecedented economic opportunity across the entire public sector.
By harnessing the power of connectivity, we can track and share anything from the location of a tank in another country to a patient’s medical records.
With cybersecurity incorporated as a core component of network strategy, government agencies will be well positioned to take advantage of IoE’s benefits and maximize the opportunities that exist in a changing Everything-over-IP world. It’s likely that 20 years from now, we’ll view IoE technologies as the baseline standard, the same way we look at VoIP today.