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Smart places ‘need standardised IoT platform’



White paper from standards body emphasises need for common approach to internet of things to support interoperability and app development

Public authorities aiming to build smart places should commit to making use of a single internet of things platform, a leading international standards organisation has claimed.

OneM2M has made the assertion in a white paper, Smart Cities Done Smarter, focused on the need for sharing data from the internet of things (IoT) devices that support smart places.

The organisation, which comprises eight national and regional standards organisations from around the world, uses the paper to flag up the potential of its own horizontal platform, but also points to the advantages behind using a single platform of any origin.

It says this is becoming important as the existence of more than 360 different IoT platforms, of which more than 60 are targeted specifically at smart cities, is threatening to create a fractured approach that will undermine the drive to enable places to operate more smartly.

“When it comes to smart cities, each city will have its own priorities and vision; there is no one-size-fits-all approach and deployment strategies will also differ,” said Roland Hechwartner, of Deutsche Telekom, technical plenary vice chair of oneM2M.

“All cities will, however, share the common goal of cost efficiency, choice of technology and secure handling of data that can be used to enrich the services offered to consumers. To achieve this, the key requirements set out in our white paper are vital if smart cities are to become intelligent.”

Horizontal choice

The white paper makes the point that authorities should not use several IoT platforms dedicated to specific purposes such as waste management, smart metering and transport, but use a horizontal platform that can manage all of them.

This would lay the ground for interoperability and different apps to use the same device management and security software, and for the data generated by sensors to be put to multiple uses, including sharing between organisations.

“Police and other emergency services will obviously find traffic conditions relevant,” Hechwartner said. “Taxi and car drivers would also find this sort of information useful, while collating traffic patterns over days, weeks and months and reusing this information across other platforms might also be relevant for city planners.”


The paper claims the approach would provide a number of advantages, including: increasing the re-usability and value of the data from IoT devices; making things easier for apps developers; providing semantic interoperability; preventing any disruption of legacy IoT implementations; and working effectively with open source and standards. It would also make it easier to scale up that using the more specialised vertical platforms.

In turn, all this would provide the ground for authorities to develop their own smart places blueprints.

“Cities will not be locked into proprietary ecosystems that limit technology choice and increase costs over time,” the paper says.

It adds that, according to a recent study by Machina Research, cities around the world could waste as much as $431 billion by 2025 if they adopt a fragmented as opposed to standardised approach to IT.

Image from US Federal Trade Commission, public domain through Wikimedia.

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