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< Back to overview page: "BEREC Consultation Platform"

BEREC Public Consultation on Internet of Things Indicators

BEREC Public Consultation on Internet of Things Indicators (BoR (18) 230)

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BEREC Public Consultation on Internet of Things Indicators (BoR (18) 230)

BEREC has prepared this call for input with the aim of getting insights from all types of actors (consumers, companies in the telecommunications sector, digital companies, other companies, institutions) on issues to be taken into account by NRAs in the context of BEREC’s approach to monitoring and collecting statistical information on the IoT.

The public consultation will run from 12 December 2018 to 23 January 2019, 17:00 CET.

Enquiries about the consultation, including registration problems with the online platform should be sent to the following email address: BEREC_ IoT_PC@berec.europa.eu

 

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 BoR (18) 230 

BEREC Public Consultation on Internet of Things Indicators

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P1

BEREC has, in recent years and like many other organisations, started to consider the implications of the Internet of Things (IoT). In 2016, BEREC published a report on “Enabling the Internet of Things”[1].

In February 2017, BEREC held an expert Workshop on the Internet of Things”[2], bringing together experts and stakeholders to discuss the regulatory implications and solutions required to ensure a large-scale and sustainable IoT roll-out, in order to deliver significant benefits to citizens and consumers across different industries.

With this workshop, BEREC provided a forum for dialogue between National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs) and other competent authorities for matters regarding the IoT, as well as for other stakeholders in the industry, in order to create awareness and foster both an innovation-friendly and consumer-friendly environment.

Finally, with respect to the work of BEREC so far on the IoT, in March 2018, BEREC held an internal workshop on 5G and the IoT to outline the related security issues and discuss 5G implications on development of new services.

The current report, for public consultation, is prepared as a result of a project outlined in BEREC’s Work Programme 2018[3], in which BEREC indicated that it would, in 2018, conduct an assessment on the type(s) of indicators that its constituent NRAs are collecting data for with regard to the IoT, as well as providing a more forward looking assessment with respect to what IoT indicators BEREC could look to collect data on, going forward, and why those indicators are important to BEREC.

Given the growth in the IoT, as evidenced by multiple studies and reports[4], and the consequential requirements for network resources, there is an ongoing and forward looking need for BEREC to reflect the importance of this sector in the work of BEREC. Depending on the outcome of the public consultation, BEREC could conduct further work, in future, to develop a harmonised set of indicators on the IoT for the purposes of benchmarking, and to provide a statistical overview of, the IoT landscape in Europe.

Much of the information presented in the subsequent chapters of the report is based on the results of two questionnaires which were circulated to, and answered by, experts of the NRAs. The questionnaires are set out in Annex 1 and Annex 2 of the report. In general, it covers the following topics:

- BEREC’s IoT universe

- Effect of IoT on NRAs’ spectrum policies and allocation of scarce resources

- The importance of IoT indicators for BEREC

In taking the results of those questionnaire, this report focuses on three of the four questions originally set out for this project in the BEREC Work Programme 2018, which were:

- What types of data measuring the Internet of Things are necessary and of most interest to National Regulatory Authorities?

- What definition(s) of Internet of Things devices should be used?[5]

- What is the best way to measure Internet of Things network traffic?

In light of expert discussion (among members of the BEREC Benchmarking Expert Working Group) ahead of the circulation of the questionnaire to NRAs, it was felt that it might be too early at this initial stage to achieve clear answers to the other question[6] originally set out for the project in the BEREC Work Programme 2018; i.e. the extent to which the European Commission’s 2015 forecast has come to fruition – it is both too early and indeed, on reflection, not actually within the remit of this report to answer.

The overall objective of this BEREC report and public consultation, then, as set out in the BEREC Work Programme 2018, is to assess what, if any, are the indicators on the Internet of Things which NRAs are already collecting, primarily from the supply-side, but also on the demand-side, and to propose a way forward, if one exists, for any potential harmonised collection of IoT indicators by NRAs in order to benchmark and provide a statistical overview of the IoT landscape in Europe.

It should be noted that although many NRAs (depending on their national legislation) currently[7] don’t/are not legally able to collect a lot of statistical information on the IoT, the responses to BEREC’s recent questionnaires to NRAs suggest that there is a general agreement that some kind of broader monitoring (beyond M2M, for example) of the IoT should be targeted. In light of those NRA responses and the stakeholder responses to this public consultation, BEREC will look to address, and further consider, its position on the way forward. That way forward may, on the one hand, provide for a more high-level statistical information gathering process (covering, for example, the total number of IoT subscribers emanating from ECS undertakings and/or the quantity of national numbering resources allocated specifically to IoT), or it may, on the other hand, provide for a more granular statistical information gathering process (as further discussed on page 23 and elaborated in Figure 4).

BEREC has prepared this call for input with the aim of getting insights from all types of actors (consumers, companies in the telecommunications sector, digital companies, other companies, institutions) on issues to be taken into account by NRAs in the context of BEREC’s approach to monitoring and collecting statistical information on the IoT. Specifically, BEREC is interested in the following issues that are addressed in the different sections of the public consultation:

1. General issues regarding the collection of statistical information on the IoT, including a BEREC definition of the IoT.

2. BEREC’s IoT universe, discussing the applications and network technologies that BEREC and NRAs should consider with respect to monitoring the IoT.

3. Effect of the IoT on NRA spectrum policies and scarce resources, covering the extent to which NRAs should monitor and BEREC should benchmark[8] IoT developments and the effects of such developments on spectrum and numbering requirements.

4. The importance of IoT indicators for BEREC, focusing on what NRAs currently collect and the potential future approach of BEREC in this area.

Once BEREC has received all stakeholders’ responses to this consultation, a report summarising their input will be published on the BEREC website. The contributions will be used in the preparation of the final report, expected to be completed and submitted for adoption at the BEREC Plenary meeting in March 2019.

P2

Once BEREC receives all responses, a report summarising that feedback will be published on the BEREC website[9] prior to the publication of the final version of the BEREC Report on Internet of Things Indicators, and the responses received will be used in the preparation of that report.

Timeline and subjective scope (target groups) of this public consultation

P3

This consultation runs from 12 December 2018 to 23 January 2019. It is open to the wide range of public and private stakeholders involved in the IoT and to their associations. BEREC welcomes contributions from all stakeholders interested in the IoT, including:

- Public organisations at the local, national, and/or international level (e.g. competition authorities, government authorities, intergovernmental organizations, etc.);

- Industry: providers of ECNs (electronic communications networks and providers of ECSs), operators active along the IoT value chain – IoT services; players active along the value chains for data collection, data analysts; producers of smart handsets; and any other industry player active in the IoT sphere;

- Industry associations and networks;

- Consumers and consumers’ associations; and

- Academia, think tanks, individual experts, individual citizens.

Instructions for submitting responses and transparency

P4

This public consultation runs from 12 December 2018 to 23 January 2019. Please provide all answers to the questions in English. Respondents are not required to answer all sections and answers, although BEREC invites stakeholders etc. to submit contributions in as complete and detailed a manner as possible.

All non-confidential contributions to the consultation will be published on the BEREC website shortly after the end of the consultation period. Please, mention if any part or detail of your response has to be treated confidentially. Alternatively, you can provide a non-confidential version of your response.

Responses should be addressed to BEREC_ IoT_PC@berec.europa.eu by close of business, i.e. 17.00 CET, on 23 January 2019. Responses received after this time and data will only be considered at BEREC’s discretion.

Stakeholder information

P5

Please provide the name (and website, if available) of your organisation, as well as the contact information (name, e-mail and/or phone number) for a contact person. In the case of personal contributions, please provide your name, nationality and contact information.

Name of the organisation/person, website, nationality and contact information

Please indicate the place(s) of operation of your organisation and the sector(s) in which your organisation mainly operates. Please explain how you are involved in the IoT.

Place(s) of operation, sector(s), and involvement in the IoT

P6

In its 2016 report on “Enabling the Internet of Things”, BEREC noted, when discussing terminology that “IoT services are in varying phases of development and take various shapes, hence there is not yet a common understanding or definition of what IoT services and devices really are.” However, the report did reference a 2015 European Commission report[10], which defined the IoT as enabling “objects sharing information with other objects/members in the network, recognizing events and changes so to react autonomously in an appropriate manner. The IoT therefore builds on communication between things (machines, buildings, cars, animals, etc.) that leads to action and value creation.”

The point being that in order to monitor and measure something, it must first be clearly set out as to what that something to be monitored and measured actually is. While BEREC could indeed use a definition for the IoT as elaborated by other organisations, and clearly it has already used the European Commission definition in the 2016 report, already mentioned, it would be worthwhile for BEREC to provide its own clear definition of what it considers the IoT to be; certainly with respect to the monitoring and measurement of the IoT.

This chapter provides some additional insight and information on various definitions for the IoT, which have been detailed by organisations and companies like the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development), the ITU (International Telecommunications Union), the GSMA (Global System for Mobile Communication Association), the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers), Gartner[11], and Vodafone. Additionally, information provided below is a review of some of the information that currently exists with respect to how the IoT is monitored and measured, i.e. what are the common indicators for the IoT.

Examples of definitions for the IoT

P7

The OECD defines the IoT in broad terms including all devices and objects whose state can be altered via the Internet, with or without the active involvement of individuals. This includes laptops, routers, servers, tablets and smartphones, often considered to be part of the traditional Internet. However, these devices are integral to operating, reading and analysing the state of IoT devices and frequently constitute the heart and brains of the system. As such, it would not be correct to exclude them.[12]

In its 2012 paper, “Overview of the Internet of Things”[13], the ITU defines the IoT as a global infrastructure for the information society, enabling advanced services by interconnecting (physical and virtual) things based on existing and evolving interoperable information and communication technologies. Through the exploitation of identification, data capture, processing and communication capabilities, the IoT makes full use of things to offer services to all kinds of applications, whilst ensuring that security and privacy requirements are fulfilled.

For the GSMA, the IoT describes the coordination of multiple machines, devices and appliances connected to the Internet through multiple networks. Devices in the IoT cover many vertical industries; smartphones, tablets and consumer electronics, and others including vehicles, monitors and sensors equipped with M2M communications that allow them to send and receive data.[14] The GSMA states that although IoT is a very complex and diverse ecosystem with very limited reported data, they define it as: “IP enabled devices capable of two-way data transmission (excluding one-way communication sensors and RFID tags). Includes all access technologies e.g. cellular, short-range, fixed, and satellite.”

The IEEE has sought to focus on what they consider to be an ever-changing definition of the IoT. In 2015, the IEEE released a paper[15] intended to establish a baseline definition of the Internet of Things, in the context of applications that range from small, localised systems to larger global systems, geographically distributed and composed of smaller localised systems. Given this, the IEEE defines the smaller system as follows:

An IoT is a network that connects uniquely identifiable ‘Things’ to the Internet. The ‘Things’ have sensing/actuation and potential programmability capabilities. Through the exploitation of unique identification and sensing, information about the ‘Thing’ can be collected and the state of the ‘Thing’ can be changed from anywhere, anytime, by anything.

The IEEE’s definition of the larger system is essentially then the interconnection of a large amount of ‘Things’ in order to deliver a complex service and support an execution of complex processes.

Gartner defines the IoT as the network of physical objects that contain embedded technology to communicate and sense or interact with their internal states or the external environment.[16] Indeed, Cisco in its recent research on the IoT [17] utilises the Gartner definition for its purposes.

Finally, in terms of the variety of definitions available for the IoT, Vodafone, in its annual “IoT Barometer”[18], defines the IoT as connecting objects, turning them into intelligent assets that can communicate with people, applications and each other. The IoT enables things like cars, buildings and machines to communicate about their status and environment.

It is clear from this shortlist of definitions that there are sufficient commonalities to allow for BEREC to assess and define its own clear and agreed description of the IoT, which will aid any future harmonised gathering of data for indicators on the IoT. However, given the previous use of the European Commission’s definition, unless BEREC considers it necessary to have its own definition, the Commission’s wording should be sufficient in the short term for any work that BEREC conducts regarding the IoT.

Examples of monitoring and measurement of the IoT

P8

Before assessing the statistical information that NRAs collect in this field, it is worthwhile to provide an overview of the type of monitoring and measurement being conducted elsewhere. Given the general theme that finding reliable data about the installed base of IoT devices, market size and valuation is currently not easy.

However, typically available (whether freely or in commercial market reports) information based on forecasts and/or surveys can provide a useful benchmark, particularly when the point is reached whereby NRAs can actually collect statistical information on a harmonised set of indicators for the IoT.

This might, indeed, allow for an assessment of the veracity of the forecast presented by the European Commission, which was mentioned in the original outline for this project.

Some examples of information on the IoT available freely or in commercial market reports include:

- Gartner Forecast - Internet of Things[19]: Gartner forecasted that 8.4 billion connected things would be used worldwide in 2017, up 31% from 2016, and will reach 20.4 billion by 2020.

- Cisco Visual Networking Index[20]: According to Cisco, in 2016 there were 780 million M2M connections around the world, out of which 325 million were wearable devices (e.g. smart watches, smart glasses, health and fitness trackers, wearable navigation devices, smart clothing, and so forth.). Of these wearable devices, 11 million already had embedded cellular connections (i.e. eSIM) in 2016. Their forecast is that by 2021 there will be 3.3 billion M2M connected devices, i.e. a fourfold growth in five years.

- Cisco Cloud Index White Paper[21]: Globally, the data created by Internet of Everything devices will reach 507.5 ZB per year (42.3 ZB per month) by 2019, up from 134.5 ZB per year (11.2 ZB per month) in 2014. Globally, the data created by Internet of Everything devices will be 269 times higher than the amount of data being transmitted to data centres from end-user devices and 49 times higher than total data centre traffic by 2019.

- IDC Worldwide Internet of Things Forecast[22]: By 2021, global IoT spending is expected to total nearly €1 trillion as organizations continue to invest in the hardware, software, services, and connectivity that enable the IoT.

- IHS Enabling the Internet of Things[23]: Forecast of global IoT installed base from 2015 to 2025.

P9

Figure 1: IoT installed base. Source: IHS.

P10


One final example of how statistical information is used to monitor and measure the IoT is Vodafone’s annually published IoT Barometer[24]. In the 2017/2018 edition, Vodafone interviewed almost 1,300 business respondents globally, and covered multiple industries and company sizes. According to its analysis, Vodafone states that IoT adoption has grown from 12% of respondents to their survey in 2013 to almost 30% in 2017. Further, according to Vodafone, many respondents have increased their number of connected devices. Finally, based on Vodafone’s survey, the proportion of companies embracing the IoT “on a massive scale” – over 50,000 connected devices – has doubled since 2016.

Stakeholder questions