Internet of Things (IoT) represents the next step towards the digitisation of our society and economy, where objects and people are interconnected through communication networks and report about their status and/or the surrounding environment.
IoT can also benefit the European economy generating economic growth and employment; according to a recent European Commission study the market value of the IoT in the EU is expected to exceed one trillion euros in 2020.
For the past six years, the Commission is cooperating actively with Member States and third countries towards the development and future deployment of the IoT technology.
In March 2015 the European Commission initiated the creation of the Alliance for Internet of Things Innovation (AIOTI). This alliance flags the intention of the the European commission to work closely with all stakeholders and actors of the Internet of Things.
The Digital Single Market (DSM), adopted in May 2015, leads Europe a step further in accelerating developments on IoT. The DSM consolidates initiatives on security and data protection, which are essential for the adoption of this technology. Most importantly, it announces an initiative on the Data economy (free flow of data, allocation of liability, ownership, interoperability, usability and access) and promises to tackle interoperability and standardisation.
The requirements of IoT will also be fed into the research on empowering network technologies, like 5G Mobiles. FIWARE will be one of the platforms to support building blocks useful for IoT applications, while Cloud Computing will provide objects with service and storage resources. On the application side, initiatives like Sensing Enterprise and Factory of the Future help companies use the technology to innovate, while experimental facilities like FIRE are available for large-scale testing.
The important investments on Internet of Things technologies which have already been taken at EU and Member States levels, reveals the next big step towards implementation of large scale pilots. The European Commission launched a series of IoT large scale pilots in the areas of wearables, assisted living, connected vehicles, smart cities, smart agriculture and water management supported by Horizon 2020.
The pilots will not be designed as a purely technological exercise. They will deliver IoT practical solutions in terms of applicable technology and standards, privacy and security, business models as well as usability. The pilots should also serve to deduce methodologies to assess privacy and security impacts of IoT.