Internet Of Things Standards Are Years Away – Roundtable

Internet of things fibre cable circuit board network © asharkyu Shutterstock
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There are still too many standards for the Internet of Things, according to an industry roundtable.

The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to revolutionise our home and business lives, but it cannot take off properly until there is a single interconnection standard, according to an industry roundtable held this summer.

In the last his year, tech giants have manoeuvred for position in IoT, a movement which proposes that all devices should have connections to the Internet, which can be used to gather data and optimise processes, creating smart grids, smart cities and smart homes. However, it is still an open question how those devices will communicate – and the Incisor TV round table concluded that any unity is still some way off.

incisor tv IoT roundtableIt’s like Game of Thrones out there

Google has invested in Nest, and there are rival standards bodies, as well as moves in wearable tech from firms including Apple and Samsung. But all of them are proprietary.

IoT devices will have to communicate wirelessly, because there will be so many of them, the effort of wiring them up would be uneconomic. But what technology? There’s a plethora of standards bodies and proprietary technologies which could be used to connect IoT devices, including Bluetooth Low Energy, Wi-Fi, 3G and 4G cellular, powerline, DECT and Weightless, as well as specialised technologies such as Zigbee.

As long as there is no clear leader, any company making a device such as a washing machine will have a hard time deciding what communications chip to build in. But the problem goes deeper, argues Professor William Webb of the Weightless Consortium: attaching a device to a local hub is going to be complex enough, but the device will need to communicate beyond that hub to cloud services if it is to produce the efficiency gains that the IoT promises.  For this reason, he believes that the ultimate winner will be a long-range technology.

But which of the existing technologies will be eliminated first in the coming Game of Thrones -style bloodbath? And what applications will really drive the Internet of Things into existence?

The roundtable includes yours truly – TechWeek editor Peter Judge – along with representatives of major wireless standards efforts, and is hosted by Incisor TV and analyst firm IHS. Watch it to find out our view of the Internet of Things’ future.

Quiz: Do you know what’s what in the Internet of Things?

  1. The International Standard “Open Systems Interconnection” is the first step developing standards for the “Internet of Things”. All pensioned experts know.

    1. Brilliant point Jan.

      HyperCat could be the X.400 of the Internet of things…

      No wait, would that be a good thing?


      1. Thank you, Peter. The ICT Revolution will take place in september in Amsterdam. “Everybody” will be there and because you will join Broersma you will be there as well. Because I am pensioned I will be available for an Interview “the last 40 years and the next 40 years of ICT”. In English or Dutch or German or French.

  2. DOn’t expect a single communication technology for IoT. It is not needed. For the Internet today we already use various technologies like DSL, Fiber, Ethernet, WiFi, 3G, 4G, SDH, … and it works. For IoT it will be the same. Gateways can translate between the different communication technologies. It depends on the specific application, environment, installed base, required bandwidth and latency, costs and more which technology will be used for a specific case.
    And this sentence about a long range wireles technology is bullshit. Use ZugBee, EnOcean, WiFi, … to connect to your next gateway and than continue via DSL, Fiber, … thru the network to your server/cloud.
    The issue is not at these lower communiation layers. In order to make use of the date provided by or send to the devices, sensor, actor a common understanding of this data/information is needed by the applications. So we need sematic interoperability. This is an ticky issue of its own. Forget about all these communication discussions ZigBee vs. WiFi vs. EnOcean vs. …

  3. Every atom of the sun’s energy will be burned up before there is a single interconnection standard. It will never, ever, EVER happen. Period.

    Nor is it even REMOTELY a prerequisite for the IoT to materialize. At ThingWorx, we’ve successfully abstracted that complexity away.

    Lastly, the internet of things is not just about connected homes and toothbrushes. There are lots of high value IoT implementations in industrial applications, smart agriculture, and medical use cases today. A single communication standard wasn’t needed there, and it isn’t needed in other segments.