All of the big trends affecting homes and industry, from IoT and Big Data to smart manufacturing and smart buildings, have one common driver – data networking.
Regardless of whether the network is cabled or wireless, collected data needs to be carried through networks to be analyzed and dispatched. The work to standardize the interfaces and generic cabling necessary for data networking is undertaken by a joint IEC and ISO technical committee, ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 25, focusing on the interconnections of IT equipment.
According to Rainer Schmidt, Chair of ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 25, “People are looking for standards to connect the world. When we speak about IoT, much has to do with bringing information, such as temperature or pressure levels, into a given database or network. To do this and make IoT a reality, you need a clear structure to send to other networks”.
The ISO/IEC 14543 series of standards provides the architecture for the home electronic system. It includes standards for the data link layers, protocols for intelligent grouping and resource sharing as well as remote access system architecture.
However, updates are necessary to ensure that systems accommodate future applications. Schmidt noted that “everyone is speaking about sensors and so we need to introduce sensor upgrades. We also need to address certain aspects of cyber security through robust infrastructure to protect home networks, attached devices and users”.
Cables are often used to connect data networking systems. Generic cabling system standards, most notably the ISO/IEC 11801 series, are suitable for a wide range of applications and are designed to support different hardware, including those expected to be adopted in the future.
Updating ISO/IEC 11801 is a priority for Schmidt. He remarked, “this standard is very important because it is the only one defining transmission channels and the limit values on these channels. The defined limit values are used to test or qualify cabling networks and are referenced by many groups such as IEEE”.
The multiplication of electronic devices connected to data networks consumes energy. And, as businesses and homes seek to become more energy efficient and reduce costs, it is necessary to find ways to better manage energy usage.
One standard developed by JTC 1/SC 25, ISO/IEC 10192-3, specifies a module to allow the transfer of energy management data between a device and a smart grid using a data network. This allows grid operators to better understand energy demands and improve efficiency. It is a first step towards an interactive system between the smart grid and networked devices.
According to Schmidt, “the environment is an important area where we can contribute. Currently, we are developing a standard for a system of interacting energy management agents for demand-response energy management. This will allow an efficient information exchange from homes to energy service provider that will drive smart home development”.
Single pair Ethernet (SPE) with remote powering (i.e. PoDL, power over data line) is another example of how energy costs can be reduced in a data network. By transmitting data and voltage simultaneously, energy costs can be reduced and make batteries in sensors obsolete. Schmidt noted that this is what makes SPE cabling smart.
According to Schmidt, “we are close to the main trends like big data, like integrated industry or industry 4.0 and IoT which are major topics for us. In the next five years, we expect that single-pair cabling, higher bandwidth and technical data security (technical aspects, screening) for data networking will become focus areas for standardization”.