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European Initiatives

Internet of Things technologies are at the forefront of the world economy’s digital transformation, alongside the application of distributed and artificial intelligence (AI). The rollout of IoT technologies will optimise the way we live our lives. In fact, the Internet of Things (IoT) allows us to merge the physical and the virtual worlds. It offers innovative solutions and allows us to create smart environments. Data collected from IoT sensors can be monitored and fed back to a central system to trigger an action, gain insights or respond to another connected object, hundreds of kilometres away.

According to the International Data Corporation, the number of installed IoT connected devices is projected to increase from 40 billion in 2023 to 49 billion by 2026, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 7%. It is also noteworthy that three quarters of European organisations use cloud, while about the same share plans to invest in IoT.

IoT-related research, development and innovation programmes

Through Horizon Europe calls on "World Leading Data and Computing Technologies", the Commission is financing IoT projects and other activities under Cluster 4 "Digital, Industry and Space" Destination 3: From Cloud to Edge to IoT. The calls under the 2023-2024 work programme focus on research and innovation in the cognitive computing continuum as well as on piloting emerging smart IoT platforms and decentralised intelligence. These projects will demonstrate the use of IoT and edge technologies across multiple sectors boosting industrial collaboration through open platforms and standards, and thus achieving European leadership across the entire edge ecosystem.


Spanning the computing continuum from edge to cloud, the High Performance, Edge And Cloud computing (HiPEAC) community, which is supported by the European Commission, constitutes a dynamic network of around 2,000 computing systems researchers, industry representatives and students to track recent trends and challenges in the computing domain.

On top of this, the European Commission will support collaboration with the National Science Foundation of the United States, with a focus on fundamental research on new concepts for distributed computing and swarm intelligence.

Further details concerning on-going research and innovation projects, and events and opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises can be found on the European Cloud-Edge-IoT portal. This initiative aims to establish a pathway for the understanding and development of the Cloud, Edge and IoT (CEI) Continuum by promoting cooperation between a wide range of research projects, developers and suppliers, business users and potential adopters of this new technological paradigm. 

Further efforts of the digitalisation of European industry are directed through the Connecting Europe Facility and Digital Europe Programmes. For example, the rolling out of common European data spaces in priority sectors like agriculture, energy and mobility.

DGs and policies involved

Through excellent, effective, and close cooperation between the Commission’s various DGs, the EU is leading by example in areas such as legislation, standardisation and interoperability, cybersecurity, sustainable ICT as well as in supporting research, innovation and deployment. It works with relevant stakeholders from both the public and private sectors and civil society in these areas.

The Directorate-General for Mobility & Transport (DG MOVE) and DG CONNECT are developing synergies between the European Data Strategy and the Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy, with a particular focus on the deployment of a common European mobility data space. Both DGs have joined forces with the Directorate-General for Research & Innovation (DG RTD) and the Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship & SMEs (DG GROW) to develop the topic of connected and automated mobility through a series of complementary policies and through research and development actions.

The Directorate-General for Energy (DG ENER) and DG CONNECT are preparing actions following the Digitalisation of Energy Action Plan, in order to accelerate the digital and sustainable transformation of the EU’s energy system. This work is in line with the Commissions’ European Green DealREPowerEU and the Digital Decade policy programme for 2030. It also touches upon enhancing the exchange and data use in the energy sector, with the goal of establishing a common European energy data space.

Lastly, the Directorate-General for Agriculture & Rural Development (DG AGRI) collaborates with the DG CONNECT developing a common European agricultural data space in order to provide for digital transformation of Europe’s farming industry. Current actions are co-funded through Horizon Europe. The deployment of the respective data spaces is to be supported under the Digital Europe Programme in 2024, building on the activities of EU Member States.


Initiative Details

Target audience
Digital skills for ICT professionals and other digital experts.
Digital technology / specialisation
Digital skill level
Geographic scope - Country
Industry - field of education and training
Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) not further defined
Geographical sphere
International initiative