The changing face of the US administration means drastic policy changes are coming. Tom Wheeler, the 31st chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and longtime proponent of net neutrality, has stepped down from his position. Net neutrality is a policy enacted by the FCC that prevents Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from prioritizing certain internet traffic over others. Many fear that Trump’s new appointee will do away with net neutrality. If net neutrality is abolished, it could have significant impact on the Internet of Things.

The IoT relies on open internet concepts for devices to communicate with each other freely. If ISPs are allowed to restrict communication flow between these devices, they will not work effectively. When the IoT works effectively, the advantages are innumerable. ClearWorld’s RetroFlex light poles, for example, help to improve public WiFi and expand the reach and intensity of communications through resilient power and high line of sight. The poles also provide real-time traffic monitoring and monitor sensors that enhance quality of life and safety in both urban and rural locations.

Before resigning, Wheeler specifically noted that the future of the Internet of Things relies on the openness of the internet. In a future where net neutrality is compromised, the IoT will suffer. Companies who are part of the IoT will have to adapt and possibly redesign their solutions to function in an internet that is no longer open.