Internet of Things (7 September 2017)

The panel on the Internet of Things (IoT) chaired by Christiane Wendehorst provided a comprehensive insight into this topic which has been high on the European agenda. After the astute introduction of the topic to the audience, Christiane Wendehorst gave the floor to Mady Delvaux, Member of the European Parliament (EP). Delvaux explained that the EP has recently adopted a report, which discussed a wide range of questions pertaining to robotics, including on topics such as safety and security, which need to be more prominently taken into account.

Hans Schulte-Nölke, Professor at the University of Osnabrück, who spoke next, elaborated on issues of liability for autonomous systems. Heike Schulze, Policy Officer at the German Federation of Consumer Organisation, emphasised the consumers’ perspective and stressed the need to take IoT into account when drafting a new consumer sales law.

Mikolaj Zaleski from the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers, spoke about the complexity of issues surrounding IoT, which is constantly expanding in all possible directions, and thus results in the creation of even more complex notions such as ‘Internet of Cities’ or ‘Internet of Health’. He said that this complexity of issues led the Commission to analyse them in an action plan focusing on three pillars: single market for IoT (allowing all devices and services to connect seamlessly and on a plug-and-play basis anywhere in the European Union), thriving IoT ecosystem (opening platforms to encourage developer communities to innovate) and human-centred IoT (respecting European values and empowering people along with machines and businesses).