DG Connect, European Commission Eighteen months ago, the emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT) was still considered with a certain degree of scepticism. These days are gone. A series of announcements, from the acquisition of Nest Labs by Google for $3.2 billion to Samsung Gear and health-related wearables to the development of Smart Home features into Apple’s iOS, have made IoT an increasingly tangible business opportunity. Predictions have been consistently on the high side in terms of potential. For instance, Cisco estimates that the Internet of Things has a potential value of $14 trillion. Looking at the buzz in the US as well as in Asia, one may wonder whether it means that Europe has once more missed the technology train and that IoT will be developed by the likes of Apple, Google and Samsung. Or whether public research is still relevant given the fast moving market developments.
From the European Commission’s point of view, it would be a serious mistake to believe that it isgame overfor IoT. In fact, the hope has been building for some years and we are only at the very beginning. The EU has already for some time invested in supporting Research and Innova-tion in the field of IoT, notably in the areas of embedded systems and cyber-physical systems, network technologies, semantic inter-operability, operating platforms and security, and generic enablers. Just like RFID did not quite manage to become pervasive yet, there are still a number of challenges before the IoT can expand and reach maturity. Research results are now feeding into innovation, and a series of components are now available, which could usefully be exploited and enhanced by the market. But there are still a number of issues as regards how Internet of Things applications will develop and be deployed on the back of Research and Innovation. These issues may be of a technical nature, not least in terms of security, reliability, complex integration, discoverability and interoperability. Standard isation will certainly play a role there. Other issues may be related to the acceptability of IoT applications by users and by citizens. Others may relate to business models and generally to market partitioning and coordination problems, which could seriously hamper the deployment of IoT applications. In that context, the Commission is considering how to best support IoT Research and Innovation further. One opportunity could be around pilot projects testing the deployment of large amounts of sensors in relation with Big Data applications. Another could be to launch large scale pilots to test in real life the possibility for integrated IoT solutions to be delivered. End-to-end security is another clear challenge that will need to be addressed to convince users to adopt the IoT. Despite the hype around American and Asian mobile device manufactur-ers, IoT ’s research and technology is still very strong in Europe, and there are many examples of successful European companies. Europe has potentially a full eco-system with market leaders on smart sensors (Bosch, STMicroelec-tronics), embedded systems (ARM, Infineon), software (Atos, SAP), network vendors (Ericsson), telecoms (Orange) and application integrators (Siemens, Philips) or dynamic SMEs with huge growing potential (Zigpos, Libelium, Enevo) and industrial early adopters like BMW or Airbus. There is still hope that European players will emerge as the winners of the forthcoming IoT revolution. The EC will do its utmost to support that process. This book is a very useful contribution in that context and it shows that the Internet of Things European Research Cluster has been a driven force for the deployment of IoT not only in Europe, but globally.