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Suppose you type IoT standards and protocols into google. You’ll most likely fall down a rabbit hole full of the alliance standards, internet architectures and frameworks, that you may well come out with an IoT protocol degree. Ericsson predicted that there would be 50 billion connected IoT devices by…. 2020. The year is 2020, and there are approximately 30 billion IoT devices. As we know from previous trends and reports, predictions can be way off. But one thing is for sure, IoT standards and regulations are becoming more controlled and cohesive, as projects in verticals and horizontals share their successes and reap the benefits.
It’s clear from the success of these projects that you should go into every IoT project with a clear business use case. That is why no one standard is going to match every organisation, even if they are within the same vertical. Every organisation operates differently and requires unique outcomes and decisions. It comes as no surprise that there is a multitude of alliances, communication protocols, standards and new regulations coming to the fore every year. The IoT technology stack is complex and expansive. With device bandwidth, transmission and power constraints, there is a necessity to develop new and robust solutions further to meet these requirements.
IoT standards break into technology standards (such as network protocols, communication protocols, and data-aggregation standards) and regulatory standards (related to security and privacy of data).
Before we delve into the various current IoT standards, it’s crucial to think about these factors that will affect what standards you choose, and how to prepare for new technological developments in the future. Factors such as:
• data rates,
• battery life in connectivity modules,
• maximum data range and
• mobility and security.
When you’re choosing appropriate standards, you also need to break up the IoT technology stack itself to match these factors in your use case then. Infrastructure, identification, communications and transport, discovery, data protocols and device management all contain various standards which can help you pick and choose standards that match your use case.
There are several IoT wireless and fixed connectivity and network protocols and standards. In almost all IoT projects, it’s a combination of the two. Connectivity happens on all levels: at a very close range (e.g. between devices), further away (e.g. between devices and the cloud or devices and the gateway) or at vast distances between data systems.
IoT standards span multiple realms as listed above, and due to the sheer size of IoT projects and the fact that there is no one-size-fits-all approach, means it can be challenging to sift through all of the details.
IoT standards are continually trying to keep up with the fast-developing IoT technologies. Engineers must be quick to keep up with these technologies to ensure consolidation amongst their platforms, while also remaining compliant to regulations. Other challenges faced by standards include handling unstructured data, security and privacy issues in addition to regulatory standards for companies that manage big data.
Trying to unravel these challenges and complexities are various alliances such as the Zigbee Alliance, ETSI, and the IEEE. Tackling use cases with siloed applications and legacy systems, as well as trying to find the best standards and protocols can make adopting IoT complex and frustrating. But it doesn’t have to continue in this way, as we can learn from previous use cases in specific verticals and essentially learn from their mistakes.
Gartner has developed a hype cycle for IoT standards and protocols which announced the following new technologies that are on the rise:
• Backscatter Communications
• Micro OS
• 5G mMTC
• OMA SpecWorks LightweightM2M
• Hardware Security
Companies that want to undertake IoT projects list safety and security as one of their main concerns, and without standards, they may not feel comfortable adopting IoT.
Companies should join alliances along with their vendors to open up the discussion around standards for particular use cases and to meet with regulating bodies. Due to the increase in popularity of IoT, plus the sheer size of IoT projects and new technologies, organisations are seeing more and more positives to adopting IoT. Learning from others’ mistakes, while also looking to the future to see how to scale your IoT system with these technologies is critical.
Because these technologies are ever-developing, it can be a potential worry because they may become defunct in the future. Sitting down with vendors who have a lot of experience with successful projects and have a clear understanding of your use case, is going to set successful IoT implementations apart from the failures.
We also need to keep in mind the regulatory bodies such as the standards set by EU and US authorities to ensure IoT data and access is compliant. Companies should pursue vendors who are well versed in this area and are knowledgeable in secure and safe IoT use cases. Davra has developed multi-faceted IoT platforms for an extensive range of customers across the verticals. Prototyping, experimenting and continuously developing our platform to suit customers needs is essential to our customer’s growth. If you would like to discuss the standards and protocols we implement, please contact us today.
Brian McGlynn, Davra, COO
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