Internet of Things (IoT)

The IoT is the networking of objects over the internet, such as, for example, industrial machines, cars, TVs and washing machines. Billions of "intelligent objects" are being created as a result of this networking and the ever-increasing proliferation of sensors in (everyday) objects. However, a standard definition of the IoT has not yet been adopted by the various participants involved.

Internet of Things

These billions of networked objects are intended to provide support for people in their everyday lives and at the same time generate an enormous amount of structured data, which can be used for analyses and optimisations. The IoT is therefore one of the most important data providers in relation to Big Data.

Various studies assume strong growth in networked IoT objects over the next few years. Ericsson, for example, assumes in the 2018 Mobility Report that in 2023 some 31.4 billion devices will be networked, 23.3 billion of which will be IoT objects and 11.6 billion conventional devices such as PCs, smartphones and fixed-network telephones.

Ericsson Mobility Report 2018

IoT network technologies

IoT objects / devices such as automated vehicles, networked traffic lights, parking sensors, smart TVs or intelligent washing machines use different network/transmission technologies. The transmission technologies are split into the categories of "Wide Area IoT" and "Short Range IoT".

Cybersecurity/data protection

Cybersecurity and data protection are important prerequisites for the continuing evolution of the IoT. The networked objects generate a very large quantity of data, some of it sensitive, which is carried over the network infrastructure of the various providers. At the strategic level, the Confederation wishes, through the Digital Switzerland strategy, to create general conditions to ensure that cybersecurity and data protection are ready to meet future requirements. The Federal Data Protection and Information Commissioner (FDPIC) is responsible for data protection issues which are relevant to the IoT. MELANI, the Federal Reporting and Analysis Centre for Information Assurance, deals with issues relating to cybersecurity and is also the contact point for reporting attacks. The European Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA) has published additional information on security and cyberprotection.

Digital Strategy Switzerland
FDPIC link
Information on MELANI
Information on ENISA

Roaming

Roaming charges may be incurred by IoT objects, e.g. vehicles with built-in SIM cards or smart watches. Regulation is not provided for in the current Telecommunications Act (TCA) but will have to be examined after the entry into force of the revised TCA in the form of international agreements. The service provider is responsible for specific questions concerning roaming charges.

IoT devices/hardware

Manufacturers of IoT objects must comply with OFCOM's conformity regulations in order to ensure that communication between objects from different manufacturers is as free from interference as possible.

Further information on the conformity regulations

Addressing resources

OFCOM is responsible for addressing resources such as mobile telephone numbers. These are also used for IoT objects. OFCOM is monitoring the evolution of demand to enable prompt intervention if addressing resources should become scarce.

Radio frequencies / spectrum

Most IoT objects are connected to the internet over a wireless network, e.g. LoRa, Wi-Fi or 5G, and require spectrum/frequency resources as well as protection from interference. OFCOM is responsible for the management of these resources in Switzerland and accordingly ensures that sufficient frequencies or spectrum can be found for the various applications.

Detailed information on protection from interference

Standardization

The development of the IoT is forging ahead throughout the world. In order to be able to evaluate regulatory requirements promptly, OFCOM is monitoring developments in the international environment and various standardization bodies. Developments, for example concerning built-in SIM cards, requirements in terms of spectrum resources and dealing with proprietary IoT solutions, are carefully monitored.

Additional links:

Frequently asked questions

Last modification 12.03.2019

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