PositionEuropean Union. European Commission

On 12 April, the European Commission launched a public consultation on rules for the Internet of Things' (IoT) - a fast-expanding concept. The IoT is a future in which everyday objects are wirelessly connected to the internet to collect and share data(1). Stakeholders have until 12 July to give their opinion on the implications of these new systems. The Commission will use the results of the consultation to present a recommendation in summer 2013.

Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes said: "An Internet of Things with intelligence embedded into everyday objects is the next big thing. I want to promote an Internet of Things that serves our economic and societal goals, whilst preserving security, privacy and the respect of ethical values".

According to the Commission's figures, today an average person has at least two objects connected to the internet and this is expected to grow to seven by 2015, with 25 billion wirelessly connected devices globally. Internet connectivity should reach more and more objects, which the average person uses on a daily basis (cars, household appliances, clothes or food). For example, says the Commission, if a university teacher cancels a morning lecture for personal reasons, students' alarm clocks could automatically be reset. Or if an elderly person forgets to take an essential pill, a warning text message could be...

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