On 16 July 2020, the European Commission announced the launch of a sector inquiry into the market for consumer products and services linked to the Internet of Things (IoT).
The Commission defines IoT broadly. The sector inquiry is likely to cover any consumer facing system connecting physical or virtual objects to other objects or the internet. This includes smart home appliances and wearables (e.g., fitness trackers or smart watches). Commissioner Vestager says voice assistants are at the ‘centre’ of this: they’re a new interface between consumers and products/services, and there is a question as to how choices are presented to consumers over this medium. Connected cars are not in scope (the Commission is considering Standard Essential Patents in that area, but separately).