Future of the Internet of things: IoT set to revolutionise business

But understanding of potential of IoT's connected environment is essential, says EU's 'net futures' chief.

By Martha Moss

26 Nov 2015

The internet of things (IoT) will transform industry in the same way the emergence of mobile telecommunications did many years ago, a Brussels conference has heard.

Thursday’s event brought together policymakers, technology experts and industry representatives to examine how best to meet specific policy, technology and application challenges.

Mario Campolargo, the director of Net Futures in the European Commission’s DG Connect, told participants that IoT presents huge challenges and opportunities. The aim is for billions to be interconnected, the EU official said, adding, “IoT will revolutionise in the way mobile phones did many years ago.”

Campolargo told the conference that it is vital to understand innovation and new ecosystems in which start-ups can reach the global market by exploring the potential of data and connectivity.

“It’s not just about selling machines, but services. IoT is not a technology, it’s a radically different understanding of what a market is going to be so requires strategic thinking in terms of industrial strategy,” he added. “We hope that above all IoT will be a lot of fun.”

Campolargo confirmed that the European Commission would invest more than €100m in large-scale pilots, adding that the whole value chain must be integrated into these projects.

Through this, the EU is able to support industry in developing demonstrations at scale, he said.

And, noting that there would be around €20m allocated per project, he urged those keen to participate to ensure the pilots form part of their business and strategy. “We don’t have time to lose,” he said.

George Metakides, the president of the Digital Enlightenment Forum called for cyber-security to be at the heart of Europe’s digital single market (DSM).

“The DSM should ensure interoperability, while at the same time putting people in the centre, ensuring trust and security in this new world,” he said.

“Without these provisions, we risk the nightmare scenarios of households full of malevolent imps misbehaving or systems driven by disgruntled leprechauns – not to mention the spy in the coffee machine.”

He told the conference that when IoT was coined “it was a relatively modest vision”. “It envisaged a simple world of products to facilitate the inventorying and management of supplies,” he said.

However, IoT’s future is a “far more complex ecosystem”, he said, highlighting a new level of convergence of cloud computing and future networks, notably in the form of 5G.

“This convergence gives rise to powerful ecosystem full of promise and also the need to be sensible about risks,” he said.

The conference was organised by the Digital Enlightenment Forum, Huawei and The Parliament Magazine.

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