The Internet of Things and the ACMA's area of focus—Emerging issues in media and communications occasional paper | ACMA

The Internet of Things and the ACMA's area of focus—Emerging issues in media and communications occasional paper

Consultation closes: 14 December 2015

IFC: IoT2015 .

Welcome to our online consultation—beta version

This consultation is now closed.

The ACMA received three submissions on our occasional paper on the Internet of Things. Comments and submissions can be accessed from the right hand side index box. These submissions will assist the ACMA in its forward work program, including the monitoring of developments, relating to the Internet of Things.






Internet of Things and the ACMA's area of focus—Emerging issues in media and communications occasional paper 591 kB 4 MB


Executive summary

The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the inter-connection of many devices and objects utilising internet protocols, and it is yet another phase in the convergence of communications within the wider economy.

While there are many different projections about the likely number of connected devices in Australia, there is a growing industry consensus that IoT will be characterised by a rapid increase in the number of connected devices and a rapid evolution in the range of associated applications and services on offer as a consequence.

Significant productivity benefits are also expected to be realised, with a recent McKinsey & Company report estimating a potential global economic impact of IoT applications of $11.1 trillion (USD) per year in 2025 [1].

Australia is well placed to realise a share of these potential productivity gains, with the Australian communications and digital information industries demonstrating significant capacity over many years in leading and responding to change. Australian consumers have also shown a similar appetite for embracing new forms of communications technology and adapting their communications practices.

As the regulator for communications and media, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (the ACMA) is assessing how existing regulation can be used to facilitate and enable Australian businesses and citizens to benefit from IoT innovations. To date, the ACMA has responded to requests by industry participants seeking clarification about spectrum availability to support IoT applications. This has prompted the ACMA to consider more broadly the other aspects of its regulatory remit that may be used to facilitate IoT developments in Australia.

In this paper, the ACMA has focused on aspects of its regulatory remit that support the following enablers of the IoT:

  • infrastructure connectivity, using telephone numbers and spectrum
  • devices, including device standards
  • digital data and information
  • the capabilities of Australian businesses, consumers and citizens to manage multiple devices, connections and information.

The analysis looks at the likely sources of regulatory pressure that will arise in an environment characterised by multiple and complex connections of devices and digital information. It examines the existing regulatory settings and underpinnings of regulatory concepts that have an ongoing utility in supporting the complex connections of an IoT environment.
This paper also identifies some priority areas for regulatory attention that will be important in facilitating IoT developments in the near, medium and longer term. These suggested priority areas include:

  • resource allocation such as spectrum and telephone numbers needed for communications infrastructure
  • managing network security and integrity
  • supporting the interoperability of devices and information through standards-setting
  • supporting Australian business and consumers to develop stronger digital technical capabilities and literacy to interact constructively with devices and the increasing complexity of digital information.

This initial analysis also indicates that the balance of regulatory interventions in the future is likely to skew more towards the enabling strategies of facilitation and communication—strategies that aim to encourage innovation and the adoption of IoT applications.


[1] McKinsey Global Institute, The Internet of Things: Mapping the Value Beyond the Hype, June 2015, p. 2.

Feedback—tell us what you think

In this paper, the ACMA is looking at Australia’s state of readiness for a transition to the IoT and asking—is there more that needs to be done by industry, citizens and by the regulator to facilitate the development of the IoT in Australia?

Further discussion of these matters is set out in the occasional paper.

The ACMA welcomes comments and feedback in response to:

Issue 1

The ACMA would welcome any proposals from industry around the need for the designation of a discrete numbering range for M2M or IoT.

Issue 2

The ACMA would welcome views from industry about future spectrum requirements to support M2M and IoT applications.

Issue 3

The ACMA would welcome input from industry as to how cooperative models of information sharing and action by industry, citizens and regulators might be adapted to address newer forms of digital information harms.

Issue 4

Are there any additional issues that should be included as priorities for regulatory attention that have not yet been identified in this paper?

Issue 5

Has the ACMA correctly identified the near-, medium- and longer-term priorities for regulatory attention?