Standardisation for interoperability is key to the future of IoT

August 20, 2020

At its core, Internet of Things technologies are reliant on the ability for one machine to communicate with another machine, exchanging critical data and valuable analysis. With the proliferation of “Smart” devices, it is crucial to consider the data interoperability of all of these various devices, to allow these technologies to function fully.

Often, IoT and Smart technologies are developed in siloes, and often don’t take into consideration the larger networking necessities or other potential future uses. Similarly, these technologies are often focused on just that – the technology behind a specific device – without necessarily aiming to improve a business process. Data collection and transmission for its own sake is not very useful, unless it is also structured with a practical application in mind.

Therefore, standardisation is key to bringing business and technological interests together. Of course, there are already some basic standards, such as Bluetooth, RFID and MQTT. However, these may not account for the myriad of needs that installing IoT devices and systems require. Businesses need to be proactive when it comes to designing their products to fit within a larger framework.

There is a global standards initiative, oneM2M, which several international standards bodies have signed up to, including ARIB (Japan), ATIS (US), CCSA (China), ETSI (Europe), TSDSI (India) and TTA (Korea). Formed in 2012, it aims to develop standard technical specifications across various levels of IoT technology.

This is certainly a step in the right direction; without a shared understanding of the needs and an overall collaborative approach, there will be a natural limit to how far IoT and Smart technologies can scale.

Ultimately, it is not the number or quality of the IoT devices that will matter. Rather, how they communicate and how they use the data they collect will be fundamental in how these technologies scale. Therefore, ensuring interoperability for devices and data, through standards and other measures, will be crucial as the IoT market continues to grow.

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