I had the great opportunity to attend a workshop organized by IDC and TXT about “Forecasting the Future of the Internet of Things and Cloud, and Identifying Related Business Opportunities”
The general motivations for the EC to focus on IoT and cloud were elaborated for different cases. For instance, the motivation to fund projects related to agriculture are based on the population growth and the need in EU partners to find cheaper and effective ways to fill the basic food supply needs. Other example is the motivation for smart health care supply chain management, which relates to the ageing population in Europe, where cloud computing will be key to keep efficient records of patients and reduce expenditure costs related to social security services.
Three buzz words dominated the discussion: big data as essential or even intrinsic to all applications, cloud as the support for data exchange and IoT pushing innovation across different domains.
The audience was split into groups to discuss the topics where Europe should focus on. There was no surprise in the outcome, where smart energy, smart transport, smart health and smart manufacturing solutions where the definitive leaders in the groups polls.
However, it was clear that the big benefits will be reached in cross-industrial cases; that is where new markets and streams of revenue will eventually emerge in the long run since the data generated by one industry could be very useful for others.
When taking the discussion to the funding mechanisms that the EC could implement in this context, it was several times suggested that the FP7 programme created a rich set of applications for small pilots, and it is probably the time to take the leap and start large-scale validation activities. Therefore, the upcoming milestone for the EC is evidently directed towards large scale pilots with the following goals:
- Finding the horizontal common solutions for IoT.
- Highlighting the importance of conducting pilots with users in the centre of innovation in order to understand and address the attitude of the society towards IoT.
- Supporting innovation though development of new business models.
- Addressing the remaining technical challenges: security and integration of different technologies.