Salle Jean Monnet
18 rue Martignac, 75007 Paris
- The initial focus will be on the current state of play regarding the development of the internet of things in the different member states and the public policies to sustain this development by sector (connected devices, smart cities, autonomous car, industry 4.0, etc.) and layer (OS for things, 5G, application platforms, etc.).
- It will be followed by an exchange of views about the ability of those strategies to ensure that the European Union is back in the race for the digital platforms of the internet of things.
First part: State of play of the development of the Internet of Things (IoT) in each member state and description of the public policies currently implemented to sustain this development by sector (Industry 4.0, connected devices, smart cities…)
Lots of platforms are currently being developed in IoT. In particular, Google and Apple are the main actors connecting IoT services to platforms. Today, about 100 million Euros are invested per year in IOT pilot programs in Europe. There is a risk of sub scale, and consequently a need to think about compatible initiatives at the European scale, to avoid the risk that people worldwide do not buy the European services.
Other countries are investing a lot in IoT, such as China or South-Korea. It seems crucial to avoid the creation of barriers, as the example of connected cars moving across borders shows. For this purpose, it is necessary to build the ecosystem, which involves real-life testing and pilots. In this case, many domains would be affected (agriculture, manufacturing, etc.). That is why the European Commission wishes to develop an ecosystem alliance with member states. But how to create enthusiasm? Setting up many competing initiatives, like connected cars or smart city projects, and bringing CEOs in the loop, could be a solution.
In France, 34 market-oriented plans were launched in 2013 to initiate the move towards the next industrial step. These plans have entered in their second phase, labelled “Industry of the future”, attracting more visibility for industrial actors. Many accelerators have been developed, such as a city of connected devices in Angers, the “FrenchTech” national brand, IOT valley in Toulouse.
Is there an issue for European countries? The strength of the European industry is at stake. Moving to a different form of regulation, compared to the current telecom regulation framework, is an issue for public policies. Initiatives on net neutrality are also possible in the future. Nevertheless, the issue of interoperability questions whether IoT is a market. Is the approach too sectoral today? In Italy for example, there is a strong focus on connected car. A risk of seeing barriers to entry to emerge, and potentially a new type of dominance, exists today in Europe.
In the UK, although the new government’s policy on IoT is still emerging, a new programme called IoTUK is being launched which will consist of accelerators, a research hub, demonstrators (eg in the health sector) and an incubator. 55M€ has been earmarked to support the programme. The UK Government’s analysis of IoT has been informed by a 2014 report by the Government’s Chief Scientific Advisor. This report is informing thinking in government on a broad range of issues in the UK linked to IoT, including on the roles that government and industry need to play in facilitating the IoT ‘digital revolution’ as well as specific issues around skills, spectrum, privacy, security, addressing etc.
In Finland, recommendations are most in line with the UK. A Finnish Industrial Internet Forum has been launched to support Internet industry. Different layers have to be therein integrated. IoT is closely related to big data and cloud technologies. In Poland, bottom-up and spontaneous developments are supported. Polish actions go to a comity that assesses new standards. In particular, there is an emphasis on energy. Several fields are aimed by standards, like measurement and vehicles. Once standards are chosen, the issue is to apply innovative business models.
In Germany, a digital agenda is ongoing. A plan to develop a “smart service welt”, to provide services in IoT, is also provided. Besides, a work on autonomics is led, for Industries 4.0. The stake is to be more flexible. The challenges are similar: dealing with resilience, liability, privacy. That questions the need for regulation.
Second part: Exchange of views about the relevance of these strategies, in order to enable the emergence of European platforms of the Internet of Things, and possible way forward
In IoT, do we still need to think about challenges per domain? What kind of platform would allow a flow of data? The lifecycle of data would probably need its own management. Enabling collaboration is also key. But, how to manage access?
In parallel to IoT development, the Digital Single Market (DSM) strategy is going on at the European level. Finding other kinds of cooperation may be crucial. There is also a need to address numbering issue, and establishing best practices to deliver good experience. Lots of scarcity still exists. Working more generally on an access policy could foster a market for data. Data is crucial: the stake is to ensure that it is used and not misused.
In some European countries, such as Poland, IoT is mostly represented by small and medium firms. A support from big firms could therefore help actors to reach a larger scale. Middle firms are in particular seen as competitors. In Europe, but not only, SMEs have few abilities to establish standards. They must propose more innovative solutions and meet standards.
So, what to focus on? How to address the sector specific and transversal regulatory issues? Is there a lack of large ICT firms in Europe? IOT will probably mix with traditional industry. This should be on top of DSM priorities. Avoiding fragmentation is central for the future, as well as gaining the ability to grow. A lot of solutions exist. Responsibility lies within the industry as regards security.
But what is required to grow? Which aspects can be shared to enable scaling? Some European countries today lack a prospective view on IoT. Most ones do not know what coordination mechanism to implement, to support the IoT developement. One possibility is to rely on the standards developed by the technical committees of the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (SmartM2M in ETSI). There are also other projects: the OneM2M project aims at building a horizontal platform at the upper layer.
The DSM is defined around one single procedure for clearance. Setting minimum requirements, through minimum acceptable functionalities, could help standardization. Demo centers are built in different countries.
How to coordinate? Finding the right place, and trust between actors? Defining an environment for exchanges? How to do this in practice?
No good standard in IoT currently exists: making decision is needed (e.g.: limits to the size of a car).
Should we focus on specific areas? We probably should first focus on coordination on some sectors. But we have limited time: we need to act fast.
A coordination at the national level could be a beginning. The idea would be then to ask officially the European Commission for a report about coordination. To this end, a framework document on cooperation may be prepared.
In Europe, sharing of information about IoT initiatives is central, in particular for actors involved in standardization. It is not obvious whether regulation is needed. Letting the industry define its own standard seems preferable, even if the accumulation of standards can call for public authorities to act. Making the standard compulsory when it has emerged, then bringing it to formal organizations such that CEN, or ISO IP, that are behind standards. The platforms issue could be solved by gathering a network of existing platforms in Europe. Lots of initiatives are already conducted in smart home (the Confluens initiative in France, and EEBus initiative in Germany).
Possible follow-up: Depending on the interest of participants, this seminar could be followed by another one, extended to other countries, in Autumn.