Digital Single Market
Digital Economy & Society

The Internet of Things

Internet of Things
Internet of Things
Internet of Things (IoT) merges physical and virtual worlds, creating smart environments. For the past six years, the European Commission has been actively cooperating with the industry and various organisations as well as with EU Member States and third countries to unleash the potential of the IoT technology.

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. According to a European Commission study the market value of the IoT in the EU is expected to exceed one trillion euros in 2020.


Europe's IoT Policy

In the last two years a set of supporting policy actions have been adopted by the European Commission to accelerate the take-up of IoT and to unleash its potential in Europe for the benefit of European citizens and businesses.

In March 2015 the Alliance for Internet of Things Innovation (AIOTI) was launched by the European Commission to support the creation of an innovative and industry driven European Internet of Things ecosystem. This flags the intention of the European Commission to work closely with all Internet of Things stakeholders and actors towards the establishment of a competitive European IoT market and the creation of new business models. Today AIOTI is the largest European IoT Association.

In May 2015 the Digital Single Market (DSM) Strategy was adopted. The DSM strategy includes elements which lead Europe a step further in accelerating developments on Internet of Things. In particular, the strategy underlines the need to avoid fragmentation and to foster interoperability for IoT to reach its potential.

To meet the DSM strategy needs and inform about its upcoming policy, the European Commission published in April 2016 the staff working document "Advancing the Internet of Things in Europe". This document is part of the "Digitising European Industry (DEI)" initiative and specifies the EU's IoT vision which is based on three pillars:

  • a thriving IoT ecosystem 
  • a human-centred IoT approach
  • a single market for IoT.

A potential obstacle for the achievement of a single market for the IoT has to do with issues linked to the capacity to handle a large diversity and very large volumes of connected devices, and the need to securely identify them and be able to discover them so that they can be plugged into IoT systems. In this context it is important to promote an interoperable IoT numbering space for a universal object identification that transcends geographical limits, and an open system for object identification and authentication. Some aspects of numbering are already addressed in the 2016 review of the EU telecoms rules.

The recently proposed "European data economy" initiative (January 2017) also contributes to the creation of a European single market for IoT. This initiative proposes policy and legal solutions concerning the free flow of data across national borders in the EU, and liability issues in complex environments such as the IoT one. Especially, liability is decisive to enhance legal certainty around the IoT products and services.

In addition to the policy initiatives the EU has set up concrete IoT research and innovation objectives in the ongoing Horizon 2020 programme.


IoT Team
Last updated on 10/01/2017 - 11:48


Levent Gurgen's picture
A great recognition for the first jointly funded Europe-Japan collaborative project on emerging important topics such as IoT, Cloud Computing and Smart Cities
Mechthild Rohen's picture
Mechthild ROHEN
We believe that the Internet of Things has the potential to drastically improve our lives, our work places and our industrial efficiencies and capabilities while taking into account security, privacy and trust requirements.
Kees Van Der Klauw's picture
Our Alliance for Internet of Things Innovation (AIOTI) has become a recognised European Association. This allows us to secure AIOTI’s future and to enable us to have a greater impact for our members.
Magnus Franklin's picture
Data may be the new oil but for the wells of data to continue flowing, citizens need a bedrock of privacy where their information is safe. At the Digital Assembly, the European Commission's flagship conference on all things digital, trust labels, and the confidentiality of communications were among various options cross-examined to see how policymakers can lay down this bedrock of trust.
Arthur Van Der Wees's picture
Technology changes the world at a fast pace. Internet, digital services and cloud computing are and the living proof at a massive scale. Internet of Things technologies accelerates this process even more by hyper-connecting people, organisations and data with billions of objects.
Thomas Kallstenius's picture
As with many devices we are used to nowadays, wearables are becoming a big part of our lifestyle. Let's take a look at the challenges as well as the endless opportunities this technology brings into our socio-economic life.
Laertis Antonios Ando Vassiliou's picture
Laertis Antonios ANDO VASSILIOU
European Commission brings its central building – Berlaymont - to the Mobile World Congress 2016 (MWC16). The EC pavilion designed by Open Platform for Architecture will take a shape of the Brussels headquarters and seeks to highlight European Commission's role as the bridge between EU countries and people.
Sergio Garcia Gomez's picture
Citizens are the driving force for Smart Cities deployment. Internet of Things is just a catalyst to enable the creation of new and better services and more efficient usage of resources in the city.
Mustapha Bouraoui's picture
We need rigorous impact assessment methodologies, involving multidisciplinary teams (sociologists, gerontologists, health economics experts, etc.), to assess the benefits of smart living environments for ageing well based on the Internet of Things (IoT).
Robert Macdougall's picture
The Alliance for Internet of Things Innovation (AIOTI) Policy Working Group makes cross-cutting policy recommendations for both the supply and demand side of the Internet of Things (IoT).
Patrick Guillemin's picture
Our AIOTI Working Group is developing and adopting global key standards to ensure effectiveness and interoperability, support economies of scale, enable data sharing and offer innovative new services.
Roberto Viola's picture
Roberto VIOLA
A new European standard for smart appliances called SAREF has been launched in a record time: less than a year! This standard has been developed by the European Commission in close cooperation with industry and ETSI, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute.
Raph Crouan's picture
Europe is undoubtedly the cradle of some of the most active Small & Medium Businesses (SMEs) in the world. Knowing well that SMEs are the backbone of the EU Economy, Internet of Things (IoT) heavily relies on their ability to invent, test and deploy IoT technologies. This is why SMEs are an essential pillar for the Alliance for Internet of Things Innovation (AIOTI) in order to create a dynamic European Internet of Things ecosystem.
Thibaut Kleiner's picture
Everybody is talking about the Internet of Things, the next digital revolution after mobile Internet. From smart watches to connected farms, from connected cars to smart homes to smart cities, the IoT is about connecting everything and everyone to the Internet; It therefore, means new markets, new business models, more efficiency, better management of our environmental resources and innovative possibilities for users.
Roberto Viola's picture
Roberto VIOLA
Communications networks will play an even more important role in our economies as the number of objects connected to the internet increases. Here some rather technical thoughts that came to my mind when reflecting about numbering and addressing issues.
Oscar Deniz Suarez's picture
How to build a tiny intelligent camera that can be placed anywhere and see for us? Eyes of Things (EoT) is developing a platform for embedded computer vision that will allow innovative products and services.
Thibaut Kleiner's picture
Almost a week ago I attended the Internet of Things (IoT) week in Lisbon, Portugal. It was a very interesting gathering of experts, innovators and business developers.
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