The “Internet of Things” revolution — being able to wirelessly control home electronics such as coffee makers and lights remotely from your smartphone — is starting to gain traction on K Street.
Belkin International, the California-based company best known for making Internet routers, has hired D.C. boutique tech lobbying firm Franklin Square Group to advance its agenda in Washington.
The lobbying will focus primarily on Belkin’s new product line, WeMo, which features technology in Crock-Pots and lightbulbs that allow users to control the devices from their phone or tablet. The company is aiming to introduce the concept and potential uses of the “Internet of Things” to policymakers, and has not yet honed in on specific regulations or legislation.
“The ‘Internet of Things’ is really accelerating,” Belkin’s Chief Marketing Officer Kieran Hannon said. “We want to be at the forefront of this conversation in Washington and be informative to people that want to know more ... We may even see Congress holding hearings on it, and we want to be the group that can educate and inform in that process.”
Hannon and Matt Tanielian, co-founder of Franklin Square Group, said they see limitless possibilities for the technology to improve processes in industries beyond where it is currently being used.
“We’re just at the very beginning,” Tanielian said. “Once you create this platform, it allows you to experiment and find solutions for health care, education, energy consumption, you name it. We don’t really know everything that might happen, but part of the reason WeMo is engaging in Washington now is to help educate and lay the groundwork for that discussion.”
Franklin Square Group is the first outside lobby firm Belkin has hired on the issue, though the company has engaged with federal agencies before and has received a Defense Department grant to test WeMo Power — a smart meter that measures energy consumption — on military bases before the end of the year.
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