The European Union (EU) acknowledges the importance of focused research and testing on the Internet of Things (IoT) to support the development and take-up of the technology. For the period 2014-2017 under the Horizon 2020 European research and innovation programme the EU invests almost €200 million in IoT research, innovation and deployment.

EU invests in the development of advanced IoT platforms

The future design of the Internet of Things applications greatly depends on the development of advanced platform architectures for smart objects, embedded intelligence and smart networks. Most of today's IoT systems are mainly focused on sensors, whereas actuation and smart behaviour will be the key points in the future. Novel interfaces combined with artificial intelligence and flexible self-organising platforms are promising areas.

In order to support IoT research and innovation (R&I), Europe promotes the idea of open and easy accessible IoT platforms. In 2016 the 'IoT European Platform Initiative (IoT-EPI)’ was launched. At the core of IoT-EPI are seven research and innovation IoT projects funded by the Horizon 2020 programme:

These projects develop innovative platform technologies and foster technology adoption through community and business building while creating at the same time a vibrant IoT ecosystem.

A vibrant and innovative ecosystem

Another important element for the IoT R&I is the existence of a vibrant and innovative Internet of Things ecosystem which brings together the research community with the private sector companies and the end-users. The last two years the European Commission has been intensively working on developing the right European IoT ecosystem. In March 2015 the Alliance for Internet of Things Innovation (AIOTI) was initiated by the European Commission to further support the creation of an innovative and industry driven European Internet of Things ecosystem. The AIOTI builds on the work of the IoT European Research Cluster (IERC), grouping together the IoT projects funded by the 7th European research framework programme (FP7), as well as national IoT initiatives and have links with all the EU funded projects.

The European Union also participates in international (global) research and policy discussions in order to advance the technology. International calls for joint proposals are foreseen under the Horizon 2020 programme, in order to further promote global R&I cooperation in the field.

The 2016-2017 Work programme of the Horizon 2020 (page 65) offers details on Europe's current research priorities on Internet of Things. On Community Research and Development Informative Service (CORDIS) you can find all IoT related completed and ongoing EU funded projects.

IoT Large Scale Pilots (LSPs) for Testing and Deployment

Under the Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme the European Commission is currently co-funding five Internet of Things (IoT) Large-Scale Pilots. The IoT European Large-Scale Pilots, with an EU financial contribution of €100 million, started in January 2017 and cover the following areas:

  • Smart living environments for ageing well (ACTIVAGE)
  • Smart Farming and Food Security (IoF2020)
  • Wearables for smart ecosystems (MONICA)
  • Reference zones in EU cities (SYNCRHONICITY)
  • Autonomous vehicles in a connected environment (AUTOPILOT)

The coordination of these projects is supported by two additional projects, U4IoT and CREATE-IoT.

Through the selected IoT Large-Scale pilots the EU seeks to support the testing and experimentation of new IoT related technologies. These pilots are expected to accelerate the standards setting across different business sectors boosting further the IoT technology. Privacy and security, business models, usability as well as other legal and societal challenges are also important factors which EU's Large-Scale Pilots are trying to tackle.

28 April 2016
Last update: 
7 September 2017
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