Communications Networks, Content and Technology

Internet of Things

Internet of Things

Network Technologies (Unit E.1)

Support the emergence of an eco-system capable of delivering the Internet of Things. 

  1. Research & Develoment and Innovation on technologies and architectures for the development of IoT ecosystems supporting versatile service and object connectivity platforms;
  2. Building of multidisciplinary communities (including start-ups) supporting a holistic platform usage approach;
  3. Validation of IoT technologies and approaches through large scale innovation pilots;
  4. Identification of required standards in support of global deployments and interoperability.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a dynamic global network infrastructure with self-configuring  capabilities based on standard and interoperable communication protocols where physical and virtual "things' have identities, physical attributes and virtual personalities and use intelligent interfaces and are seamlessly integrated into the information network.A coordinated industrial approach to overcome fragmentation of vertically-oriented closed systems, architectures and applications is needed for Europe to be a leading player in IoT. This requires open platforms that support multiple applications, and a holistic technological and innovation approach encompassing inexpensive and secure connectivity low cost - low energy sensors, versatile service provision, in view of enabling economies of scope and economies of scale.Standardised description of semantic object properties is also needed to create web of objects (web of things), enabling large object sets queries against predefined parameters.  Information generated by distributed object platforms can then become globally exploitable, with high potential in smart city scenarios.Companion societal areas like privacy, security, ethics, and liabilities are key. Addressing these issues "by design" at technological level is also targeted. A cross border perspective of IoT systems is needed in a digital single market perspective, hence the importance of standardisation.

Article 179 of the Treaty on the functioning of the EU asserts that the Union has the objective of strengthening its scientific and technological bases by achieving a European research area in which researchers, scientific knowledge and technology circulate freely, and encouraging it to become more competitive, including in its industry, while promoting all the research activities deemed necessary by virtue of other Chapters of the Treaties. The subsequent Council Decision of 3 December 2013 (2013/743/EU) establishing the Specific Programme implementing Horizon 2020 states as part of the identified activities: "The objective is to reinforce the competitiveness of European industry in developing, mastering and shaping the next generation Internet that will gradually replace and surpass the current Web, fixed and mobile networks and service infrastructures, and enable the interconnection of trillions of devices across multiple operators and domains that will change the way we communicate, access and use knowledge". This priority will also boldly contribute to i) the Digital Single Market objectives; ii) the standardisation policy objectives; iii) the international cooperation policy objectives.


Full-Time Equivalent: 
7.30 full-time equivalent (FTE)
We envisage spending under the Horizon 2020 programme of the order of €51 ml (years 2014-15)

Market information and research data on networks.


Project portfolio

Coherent project portfolio meeting the vision and the work programme leading to IoT ecosystems deployments.

Timeframe: 2014, 2016, 2018, 2020



Patent applications and patents awarded in the different enabling and industrial technologies

Target 3 patent applications per 10 € million funding

Reports from projects and studies performed by the Commission

Number of Ph.D. thesis from research projects

Target 3-5 per project

Reports from projects and studies performed by the Commission

Number of pilots deployed

Target Up to 10 over the duration of the programme

Reports from projects and studies performed by the Commission

Number of joint public-private publications

Target 5-10 per project

Reports from projects and studies performed by the Commission

Number of publications in peer-reviewed high impact journals and number and quality of conference/workshops papers and proceedings

Target 5-10 per project

Reports from projects and studies performed by the Commission


Objects Connectivity

Wide-spread connectivity of interoperable objects.



Number of connected objects in the EU (lead indicator)

Target 25 billions (estimated) (2020)
Baseline 2,5 billions (estimated) (2013)

The 2013 baseline was obtained by merging several studies from industry, such as the one by Ericcson ( and the one by Cisco ( The same or similar sources (in that case, the data will be checked for consistency) will be used to determine the progress of the indicator on an annual basis for the year x-1.

Industry involvement

Industry involvement, and in particular SME participation: number of spin-offs and start-ups incubated through R&D projects leading to SMEs adopting new business models and opening up of new markets.



Number of spin-offs and start-ups

Target At least 1 per project (After 2 years of finalization)

Reports from projects and studies performed by the Commission


Globally accepted standardization sets under the appropriate standardization bodies (ETSI, 3GPP, IETF, ITU)



Testing and validation through large scale pilots

Target Testing and validation through large scale pilots (2020)

Reports from projects and studies performed by the Commission and the standardisation bodies


Target At least on common platform and reference architecture for Internet of Things recognised by a at least one standardisation body (2016)

Reports from projects and studies performed by the Commission and the standardisation bodies

Versatile technology platforms supporting IoT ecosystems

Common set of IoT technologies and architectures:

  1. To enable massive deployment of object connectivity.
  2. To enable easy creation of cross use case applications and interoperability.
  3. To support multiple use cases out of a common technological kernel.
  4. To enable end to end secure and trusted applications.



Common set of IoT technologies and architectures

Target Validated common kernel of technologies to support multiple IoT applications (2016-2018)

Reports from projects and studies performed by the Commission.

Link to DG CONNECT's Top Level Targets

  • Europe 2020 - 75% of the population aged 20-64 should be employed Europe 2020
  • Europe 2020 - 3% of the EU's GDP should be invested in R&D, complemented by a future EU 2020 Headline Innovation Indicator
  • Europe 2020 - Greenhouse gas emissions should be reduced by 20% compared to 1990. The share of renewable energy sources in final energy consumption should be increased to 20%. Energy efficiency should improve by 20%
  • H2020 - By 2020, one third of all Europe's ICT business investment in ICT R&D in the EU should come from companies created within the last two decades