Viviane Reding sees talking yoghurt pots

Internet of Things strikes again


The EU yesterday published an action plan to promote the Internet of Things, listing fifteen action points that the EU thinks could promote the use of internet connections in everything from yoghurt pots to trees.

Increased connectivity is a forgone conclusion: RFID tags are getting everywhere these days and while it might be a while before "connected trees will help fight deforestation" (as the plan puts it), it's hard to deny that the internet is composed of much more than traditional computers these days. But that simply begs the question of why the EU feels it necessary to get involved in creating talking yoghurt pots?

Most of the fifteen action points suggested in the report (pdf) are about keeping an eye on existing standards efforts, but action 3 opens up a debate on what it terms "the silence of the chips": whether owners should have the right to silence chips attached to their property. It's not yet clear how that debate will be carried out.

Action 12 talks about the environmental cost of tagging everything, but concludes that the advantages of being able to find out the composite makeup of something outweighs the environmental cost of tagging it, at least it should if anyone takes the time to read the tag before it disappears into landfill, and if the owner didn't exercise their right to silence.

Number 13 reminds us that the EU number-crunching department, Eurostat, will be reporting on RFID deployments from December this year - partly to keep the tin-foil-hat brigade happy but also to see how widely standards are being adopted.

It's good to hear that Eurostat will be involved, as right now the plan states that "consumers are increasingly using... mobile phones equipped with cameras and/or employing Near-Field Communications", which comes as a surprise to us, as we've yet to see a single person with an NFC-equipped handset outside a trade show, trial, or Nokia office.

The plan also seems to have a rosy view of IPv6, which the Commission thinks would be an awfully good idea and would provide addresses for all these things: a sentiment with which we can only concur if only everyone would stop being so slovenly about upgrading their routers and other network equipment. ®

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