The Internet of things - Information-sharing, a contemporary driving force behind changes in the lives of companies, individuals and institutions. - Today the Internet is host to billions of connections and exchanges. As a result it is the most powerful tool for information-sharing that has ever been invented. In just a few decades, it has become the driving force behind dramatic changes in the lives of companies, individuals and institutions. This momentum will inevitably continue : engineers, technicians, industrial and service companies, researchers in all fields and also politicians worldwide are even now designing the Internet of the Future. The prospect now is of a world with even denser connections between both humans and objects – a permanent connection which will become increasingly invisible, evoking equal reactions of fear, and hope for new inventions. This again brings into play the links between innovation and the market, technical resources and service applications, and also between security and liberty. This world of connectivity sustains and reinforces the need for “transparent, multilateral and democratic” governance, as discussed at length in the World Summit on the Information Society. The key challenge is to respond to industrial and regulatory unknowns, and to answer ethical questions on accessibility, cultural diversity and respect for liberties.
In the light of technological progress and unfamiliarity with potential uses, and also of the difficulty of harmonising standards and the unpredictability of economic competition, the European Union faces three major challenges :