Another step forward for IoT standards


30 January 2016
IOT standards

Internet of Things (IoT) devices and applications are expected to operate efficiently through standardised interfaces and procedures with the help of appropriate configurations.

This was one of the areas addressed in a new recommendation agreed upon at the second edition of the International Telecommunication Union Standardisation Sector (ITU-T) Study Group 20 (SG20). At the meeting on the “Internet of Things (IoT) and its Applications including Smart Cities and Communities” which was held at the Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre from 18 to 26 January 2016, significant inroads were made in the development of international IoT standards. This was demonstrated in the consent of two proposed key ITU-T recommendations – “Common requirements and capabilities of device management to loT” and “Requirements of the smartphone as a sink node for loT applications and series”.

The first recommendation identifies common parameters for remote activation, diagnostic, software upgrade and security management, allowing a simpler and more efficient way to manage IoT devices and applications. This could pave the way for providing a common set of standards to facilitate the fast deployment of machine-to-machine (M2M) and IoT communications on a vast variety of devices.

The second recommendation relates to the use of the smartphone as a sink node for IoT applications and services. With the global proliferation and popularity of smartphones, the ITU-T SG20 recommended that smart phones be required to act as a gathering point for collecting IoT data such as monitored health parameters, device status, video and audio feeds. This is possible as smartphones can provide Internet connectivity for devices such as wearables and home monitoring devices.

Due to its powerful computing, communicating and storage capacities, the smartphone is also anticipated to be a key device in the IoT world. Therefore, this recommendation could potentially enable smart healthcare initiatives such as tele-health or health monitoring on the go.

Globally, governments and businesses have been looking to harness the opportunities and potential offered by IoT. It is projected that there will be 50 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2020, and IoT services spending is also projected to top US$235 billion worldwide this year, up 22 per cent from 2015. In Singapore, IoT will be a critical cornerstone for many of its Smart Nation initiatives such as Smart Homes, Smart Urban Habitat, Autonomous Vehicles, and even Digital Healthcare wearables. If put in place, the ITU-T recommendations could help governments and industries take bigger strides towards developing international IoT standards in the near future.