The Internet of Things (IoT) is widely acknowledged as a great opportunity for businesses to improve their competitiveness, and for governments to set the foundation of a digital society. Since everything can be connected and even dumb devices can become intelligent, the IoT is meant to be the crucial link between physical economy and data economy.

For example, the IoT can support the digital transformation of manufacturing facilities, allowing plants and equipment to be remotely controlled, consume less power and generate less waste. The IoT can deliver preventive healthcare services, increase adoption of smart agricultural yields and techniques, enable Smart City applications for a more efficient use of public lighting infrastructures, a wiser planning of public transportation and mobility, and more.

Being such critical, the IoT has quickly risen on the agenda of policymakers, but the complexity and uncertainty of the regulatory framework might become a significant obstacle to the development of IoT, at least in Europe. In a recently published white paper, Vodafone brought together an interesting analysis of possible policy approaches to the IoT.

Beyond favouring a consistent regulation across EU member states, according to the telco group specific attention should be devoted to technological neutrality: IoT actors using different technological solutions should be encouraged to share standards and data models for the good of people, Cities and businesses.

Once again, interoperability is the answer to accelerate the development IoT and take the utmost out of it. Only when organizations and communities are not locked into technologies or vendors, and have the opportunity to flexibly grow their infrastructure, applications and services over time, they are more likely to win their own concerns – and accelerate IoT projects.