IoT standardization and why it is important

IoT success depends on open infrastructure and interoperability

Are standards necessary?

There are several national, regional and global industry bodies and initiatives, which put standardization of Internet of Things at the center of their efforts. These initiatives propose a variety of frameworks/models and approaches, depending on their background. This multiplicity is similar to the early days of the Telecom industry, where a number of bodies provided a number of frameworks, that to some extend where not interoperable.

This multiplicity and variety may introduce confusion to vendors that struggle to create solutions that are unique and innovative. Nevertheless standards may help vendors to easier introduce their solutions in the IoT ecosystem. Although standards can be complex, a minimum compliance can lead to improved interoperability and finally allow the implementation of the important horizontal IoT business model. Two major initiatives that are worth following, are the Open Platform Communications (OPC) and the Object Management Group (OMG).

Open Platform Communications (OPC)

OPC focuses on interoperability for secure and reliable exchange of data in the industrial automation space and in other industries. It is platform independent and helps implement seamless flow of information among devices from multiple vendors. The OPC standard defines the interface between Clients and Servers, as well as Servers and Servers, including access to real-time data, monitoring of alarms and events, access to historical data and other applications.

The standard was first released in 1996, in order to abstract PLC specific protocols (such as Modbus, Profibus, etc.) into a standardized interface allowing HMI/SCADA systems to interface with a “middle-man” who would convert generic-OPC read/write requests into device-specific requests and vice-versa. Following the introduction of service-oriented architectures in manufacturing systems, the OPC Foundation developed the OPC UA specifications to address new security and data modelling challenges with an open-platform architecture that was future-proof, scalable and extensible.

Object Management Group (OMG)

The Object Management Group® (OMG®) is an international, open membership, not-for-profit technology standards consortium, founded in 1989. The mission of the Object Management Group (OMG) is to develop technology standards that provide real-world value for thousands of vertical industries. As a result, OMG is not focused on IoT, but covers many other areas as well.

The Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) is OMGs program for Industrial IoT. The focus is on 5 important IoT areas: Energy, Smart Cities, Transportation, Health Care and Manufacturing.

IIC is currently building an interoperabilty rack to test robustness of TSN technology and devices and also plans to add more TSN functions in 2018.