EU Internet of Things report finds high entry barriers, exclusivity concerns
What you need to know
- The EU has published the findings of its Internet of Things inquiry.
- It has warned the sector has high entry barriers and warned of exclusivity and interoperability concerns.
- The EU is planning to follow up but hopes that companies like Apple will be proactive in addressing the concerns.
The EU Commission has today published the findings of its inquiry into the 'Internet of Things', a sector that includes the use of virtual assistants, smart home accessories, and speakers like Apple's HomePod mini.
Executive VP Margrethe Vestager said "The consumer Internet of Things sector is increasingly becoming part of our everyday life. The final findings of our sector inquiry confirm concerns identified in the preliminary report. This is a market with high barriers to entry, few vertically integrated players and concerns about access to data, interoperability or exclusivity practices amongst others."
The report says that it has found the sector is growing rapidly and that there was a growing trend of the availability of voice assistants as user interfaces for interacting with other smart devices.
It says that stakeholders who participated in the inquiry said that the main barrier to entry and expansion in the sector was high technology costs and that many stakeholders "have reported difficulties in competing with vertically integrated companies that have built their own ecosystems within and beyond the consumer IoT sector", struggling to compete with the likes of Apple, Amazon, and Google who "determine the processes for integrating smart devices and services in a consumer IoT system" as the market leaders.
Areas of concern highlighted include exclusivity and tying practices in relation to voice assistants and limited possibilities to use certain voice assistants on the same device, the use of voice assistants and smart devices as intermediaries between users and smart devices, the extensive access to data, and a lack of interoperability between consumer IoT tech because of a few "de facto standards". The full report states:
The EU says the report will guide the Commission's future enforcement and regulatory activity and would take a case-by-case approach to enforce any competition measures.
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Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.
Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9