Much has been written and said over the past year about standards for the Internet of Things. Comments ranging from “there aren’t any” to “there are too many” tend to focus on one aspect of the IoT: connectivity, and in particular, radio connectivity. There is already a wide range of radio technologies in use in the Internet of Things – many legacy technologies in use for years, and new ones rolled out each year. Add to this the use of infrared and wired (yes!) connections, and you can see there isn’t going to be an easy harmonization to a single or small set of IoT connectivity standards.
This situation can only continue. As more IoT devices are shipped, component and module prices come down, which enables new applications and business models, which generate new requirements to be satisfied with new connectivity technology. A year ago, few considered using cellular mobile systems for low-power, long-range narrowband IoT communications. Now, everybody is talking about NB-IOT.
And yet, according to a recent report from McKinsey, up to 40 percent of the value of the Internet of Things can only be enabled with interoperability. It is difficult to convince investors to develop or deploy IoT technology without some assurance that their investment will not be obsolete within a short space of time. Today, with hundreds of competing technologies, ecosystems and standards in the world of IoT, no such assurance can be given.
A new approach is needed. Interoperability needs to be enabled at a different level, well above the devices that form the end-points of the IoT. This was the conviction behind the establishment of oneM2M, the global standards partnership for M2M and IoT service-layer standards.
oneM2M provides a set of standards to provide a horizontal platform architecture, enabling applications to connect securely, through standardized APIs, to data sources regardless of the underlying connectivity technology used. It incorporates the most commonly used industry protocols for IoT, such as MQTT, CoAP and HTTP. It offers device management functionality using device management standards from the OMA and the Broadband Forum.
Release 2 of oneM2M, available this year, offers interworking with OMA Lightweight M2M, AllJoyn and OIC (Open Interconnect Consortium), as well as a generic interworking specification to enable interworking with other technologies, notably legacy deployments of M2M. oneM2M Release 2 also provides data abstraction and semantic interoperability; this will be key to enabling reuse of data and creating a true Internet of Things.
oneM2M is a joint project involving eight leading ICT standards bodies across the world: ARIB (Japan), ATIS (North America), CCSA (China), ETSI (Europe), TIA (North America), TSDSI (India), TTA (Korea) and TTC (Japan). These are joined by six global ICT consortia: Broadband Forum, Continua Alliance, GlobalPlatform, HGI, Next Generation M2M Consortium and OMA, together with over 200 member companies that participate in the production and maintenance of the oneM2M standards.
oneM2M is supported by equipment vendors and has been deployed by telecoms network operators. Three open source projects provide easy access for developers, and recent multi-vendor showcases and interoperability events demonstrated the wide range of applications of the technology, covering smart cities, intelligent transport, connected cars, smart metering, building automation and eHealth.
oneM2M is an important milestone for the IoT market. It not only provides a common technical framework and a globally recognized standard but also addresses key business objectives of lowering costs, reducing industry fragmentation and creating new business opportunities.
oneM2M, an open initiative, actively encourages industry associations and forums with specific application requirements to participate, in order to ensure that the solutions developed support their specific needs. For more information, including how to join and participate in oneM2M and access to the specifications, visit www.onem2m.org.
SandHill.com is proud to be a media sponsor at the upcoming IoT Evolution Expo, January 25-28, 2016 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Use the discount code “SANDHILL” when you register, and receive a 20 percent discount. Richard Brennan is a presenter at the event. The conference draws an international audience of IoT software companies, large enterprises, SMBs, network service providers, platform providers and device manufacturers.
Ultan Mulligan, director of communications at ETSI, is vice-chairman of the MARCOM committee in oneM2M. Contact him at email@example.com.
Richard Brennan has participated in oneM2M since its inception and is currently the oneM2M MARCOM chair, through membership in Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA). Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.