The internet of things (IoT) is fast becoming the internet of everything. But do we know what we refer to when we use that ubiquitous word?
How do you ensure technology experts and engineers speak the same language, when dealing with autonomous transport, smart cities or e-healthcare ?A new ground breaking and all-encompassing joint publication by IEC and ISO establishes a reference architecture for IoT, using a common vocabulary, reusable designs and industry best practices.
IoT will be everywhere
According to some forecasts, IoT will connect 50 billion devices by the year 2020. It is a booming market and manufacturers in areas as different as wearable electronic patches, lighting systems and self-driving cars are producing ever more sophisticated devices. The IoT will be changing our lives and these are just a few of the items that will contribute to that profound transformation.
Each system, however, is proprietary, and very few International Standards have been published covering this dynamic, exciting, wide reaching but still immature technology. IEC and ISO have long understood the requirement for global guidelines to provide the appropriate safety specifications, as well to help the various electronic devices and systems involved find some degree of interoperability.
In 2016, ISO/IEC joint Technical Committee (JTC) 1 created Subcommittee (SC) 41 to prepare Standards for the IoT. Since then the SC has published several Standards in various areas, for example on underwater acoustic sensor technology (see How underwater technology benefits from standardization).
Generic IoT Standard
One of the greatest achievements of SC 41 to date, however, is the publishing of ISO/IEC 30141 which establishes a reference architecture for the IoT. The 84-page document establishes an all-encompassing framework which serves as a basis from which to develop context specific IoT architectures and actual systems.
“We worked on this document for many years. This project was lead by three co-editors: Jie Shen from China, Wei Wei from Germany and Östen Franberg from Sweden. More than 50 people were directly involved”, explains JTC1/SC 41 Chair François Coallier.
One if the aims of this generic and horizontal document which can apply to numerous areas – smart manufacturing, grids, buildings, cities, agriculture, transport systems, e-health, etc.- is to assist stakeholders create a vertical architecture to ensure IoT-based applications are safe, resilient, easy to use and access. Another prerequisite is to protect people’s privacy by making certain their data cannot be hacked or stolen.
“The right balance has to be struck between these different requirements. It is crucial for users to feel the can trust IoT systems. Trustworthiness was one of they key concepts that guided our work in this document”, Coallier concludes.
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