Urenio Watch Watch: Digital Cities / Cyber Cities

Europe prepares for the ‘Internet of Things’

The European Commission has 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 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.

“Every day we see new examples of applications that connect objects to the internet and each other: from cars connected to traffic lights that fight congestion, to home appliances connected to smart power grids and energy metering that allows people to be aware of their electricity consumption or connected pedestrian footpaths that guide the visually impaired,” said Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for Information Society and Media. “The promise of this new development of the internet is as limitless as the number of objects in our daily life it involves. However, we need to make sure that Europeans, as citizens, as entrepreneurs and as consumers, lead the technology, rather than the technology leading us.”

Internet of Things: A 14-point Action Plan

  • Governance. The Commission will work on the definition of a set of principles underlying the governance of the Internet of Things and the design of an architecture endowed with a sufficient level of decentralised management.
  • Privacy and data protection. The Commission will observe carefully the application of data protection legislation to the Internet of Things.
  • The right to the “silence of the chips”. The Commission will launch a debate about whether individuals should be able to disconnect from their networked environment at any moment. Citizens should be able to read basic RFID (Radio Frequency Identification Devices) tags ‘“ and destroy them too ‘“ to preserve their privacy. Such rights are likely to become more important as RFID and other wireless technologies become small enough to be invisible.
  • Emerging risks. The Commission will take effective action to enable the Internet of Things to meet challenges related to trust, acceptance and security.
  • Vital resource. In connection with its activities on the protection of critical information infrastructures, the Commission will closely follow the development of the Internet of Things into a vital resource for Europe.
  • Standardisation. The Commission will, if necessary, launch additional standardisation mandates related to the Internet of Things.
  • Research. The Commission will continue to finance collaborative research projects in the area of the Internet of Things through the 7 th Framework Programme.
  • Public Private Partnership. The Commission will integrate, as adequate, the Internet of Things in the four research and development public-private partnerships that are being prepared.
  • Innovation. The Commission will launch pilot projects to promote the readiness of EU organisations to effectively deploy marketable, interoperable, secure and privacy-aware Internet of Things applications.
  • Institutional awareness. The Commission will regularly inform the European Parliament and the Council about Internet of Things developments.
  • International dialogue. The Commission will intensify the dialogue on the Internet of Things with its international partners to share information and good practices and agree on relevant joint actions.
  • Environment. The Commission will assess the difficulties of recycling RFID tags as well as the benefits that the presence of these tags can have on the recycling of objects.
  • Statistics. Eurostat will start publishing statistics on the use of RFID technologies in December 2009.
  • Evolution. The Commission will gather a representative set of European stakeholders to monitor the evolution of the Internet of Things.


Action Plan on the ‘internet of things’