The internet is evolving rapidly: while 25 years ago it was connecting only about a thousand users, today it links around 1.5 billion people across the world. An average European has now at least one object that is connected to the internet, be it a computer or mobile phone. But the number of connected devices that are hardly visible, more complex and more mobile around us will multiply a hundred or even a thousand times over the next 5 to 15 years. The European Commission today announced actions to make sure that Europe can play a leading role in shaping these new networks of interconnected objects from books to cars, from electrical appliances to food – in short the emerging 'internet of things'. The EU's Action Plan presented today will help Europeans benefit from this evolution and at the same time address the challenges it raises such as privacy, security and the protection of personal data.