Ofcom has begun to create a regulatory environment surrounding the emerging ‘internet of things’ – objects that are connected to the internet.

Ofcom said it wants to create an environment that fosters investment and innovation in the internet of things, which is likely to see billions of smart gadgets and devices wirelessly connected to the internet and each other.

Ofcom is seeking to create the right environment for investment and innovation in the sector and has said that it will see input from stakeholders on spectrum availability, data privacy, network security and resilience as well as network addressing.

The UK communications regulator said it is expected that globally, up to 50 billion smart devices, ranging from cars and parking meters to coffee machines and combine harvesters, could be connected to the internet by 2020, each using slivers of spectrum to get online.

“The internet of things will bring benefits to a range of sectors and could change the way we live our lives,” said acting Ofcom chief executive Steve Unger. 

“As a result of this growth, we have listened closely to industry and want to develop a framework for this technology to evolve in a way which will ultimately benefit citizens and consumers.”

At present retail is the third-largest category using the internet of things, with 2,000 applications, behind intelligent buildings and automotive.