Discover a new article in this Hub about IoT Standardization !
Many of the modern standards for the Internet do not suffice for supporting IoT efficiently and economically, since IoT didn’t exist, even as a concept, when those protocols were designed and implemented. Additionally, since the infrastructure for IoT throughout the world has not been fully developed, many IoT devices have been implemented with proprietary protocols, making it difficult for them to communicate with one another. However, as more companies enter the world of the digital revolution, they will push hard for standardization so they can focus on providing services rather than developing proprietary hardware and software.
Currently, many connected devices do not work well together because they have not been designed by the Research and Development teams with a cross protocol interoperability mindset. For example, medical IoT devices should ideally work with one another for the patients benefit. Thus, the heart monitor would be aware of the breathing monitor which in turn, would be aware of the Smart IV so that adjustments could be made automatically to a patient’s intravenous drug regimen as needed. In the current world, these devices operate independently, but as standards are developed, they could communicate with each other to create an environment where patient care is more optimal.
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of different technologies currently in existence, and these use a wide variety of different protocols, networking technologies, and buses. Even if more and more devices tend to communicate via IP and very often leverage, on top of it, legacy or proprietary protocols, it is vital that these standards be globally accepted, since IoT devices will be installed all over the planet. Unfortunately, the current state is not creating enough of a need for the development of protocol bridges and gateways to be developed so that they can integrate and operate together.
IoT Standardization : How can we create more interoperability ?
The standardization of the IoT can be characterized more by an evolution from existing standards into an orchestrated methodology.
This, in turn, will create the conditions for more interoperability, connectivity, “digital trust” with blockchain technologies and artificial intelligence distribution between heterogeneous components and systems.
In summary, IoT standards are still wide open and ‘wild west’, as there are no global validated standardization frameworks at the IoT stack level. There will be an exponential increase in the number and types of smart devices over the next decade. One of the biggest challenges, upon which the eventual success of IoT is dependent, is the development of interoperable global standards. Without enforcement of standards, the value and commercial viability of IoT will not reach its full potential.
OneM2M is a global standards initiative formed in 2012. The architecture it defines is a simple, 3 layers, architecture (network, service and application).
OneM2M seems is well on track to become the actual network intermediation framework standard. An assessment of the current available whitepapers and specifications while I write this book will already be outdated when this book will be published. I therefore highly recommend you regularly get updates from their website: http://www.onem2m.org
To understand where the IoT stack is heading, you need to understand the foundations:
#1: OSI model
To leverage the IoT, one must understand the foundations it uses to solve the interoperability challenge.
Unfortunately for readers with little technical background, it is necessary to go through the learning curve to understand how to leverage it. We will not be going into details regarding this topic, as there is plenty of literature available if you want more information.
Communication systems have solved this hurdle by using a set of rules and standards to format data and control data exchange. The most common methodology used in the telecom industry is the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model designed in the 1970’s (people sometimes don’t know about or remember the standardization war that happened between CII-Honeywell-Bull, DEC and IBM.) The OSI network model separates a communication into layers which allows easier implementation.
The purpose of the Open Systems Interconnection reference model is to provide a common basis for the coordination of standards development for system interconnection. The basic structuring technique in the Reference Model of Open Systems Interconnection is layering. According to this technique, each open system is viewed as logically composed of an ordered set of (N)-subsystems.
The OSI network model has 7 layers:
- Layer 7: The application layer.
- Layer 6: The presentation layer.
- Layer 5: The session layer.
- Layer 4: The transport layer.
- Layer 3: The network layer.
- Layer 2: The data-link layer.
- Layer 1: The physical layer.
#2: TCP/IP model
TCP/IP means Transmission Control Protocol and Internet Protocol. It is the model currently used as the basic communication language of the Internet and similar IT networks. Technical standards are maintained by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). The TCP/IP model which has 4 layers, based the OSI model, is used for data communication on the internet. Each layer in the model corresponds to one or more layers of the seven-layer Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model:
When zooming into the TCP/IP model, you can find well known protocols:
#3: IPV4 & IPV6
The protocol that ties everything together is the ubiquitous IP, and there are two versions:
- IPv4 – the earlier form of the protocol (first described in 1980) can address about 234 addresses, and most of those already been used. As H Chaouchi states in his book The Internet of Things: Connecting Objects: “IPV4 was not designed for the Internet of Things”.
- IPv6 – is the most recent version (first description in 1998). IPv4, has made the transition to IPv6 unavoidable. The Google’s figures are revealing an IPv6 adoption rate following an exponential curve, doubling every 9 months. IPv6 is being adopted by numerous Internet providers and hardware manufacturers. IPv6 enables a wide adoption and use of IP addresses needed by the IoT. It can provide up to 2128 unique addresses, which represents 3.4 × 1038 addresses. In other words, more than 2 billion of billions addresses per square millimeter of the Earth surface. It is quite sufficient to address the needs of any present and future communicating device.
IPv6 is replacing the older IPv4 protocol. For the foreseeable future, both IPv4 and IPv6 will remain in use throughout the internet. You can find the latest IPV6 adoption on http://6lab.cisco.com/stats/
IoT platforms: first approach to standardize and streamline operations
Interestingly, the current gap and associated need to find a solution in interoperability has opened huge opportunities for software bridging those gaps: IoT platforms. We see more and more IoT platforms making the promise of interoperability into a scalable and sustainable matter; at the same time, this opens interoperability questions between those platforms. This will be addressed later in another post.
In the coming post, I will dig into the IoT Stack….
Pre-order the IoT Book ‘Digitize Or Die’ HERE & LEARN MORE about IoT Standardization !