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Interdigital flies the flag for open IoT standards in smart cities

Data transport in future city

Mobile tech company InterDigital has published the results of a Machina Research report it sponsored into the benefits of IoT standardization, especially in the context of smart cities.

Interdigital is a fan of an IoT service layer protocol standard called One M2M and believes the whole industry would be better off if IoT had a standards-based approach. Since IoT remains such a broad and ill-defined concept Machina focused its research on smart cities, reasoning they provide an appropriate microcosm of the IoT industry.

The headline data-point was that if smart cities persist with non-standardized IoT deployments they could have wasted $341 billion by 2015. The rationale it that 30% of the trillion or so dollars expected to be dropped globally on smart cities over the next nine years could be saved from the  interoperability, freedom from vendor lock-in, and reduced systems integration costs that IoT standardization provides.

“As an organization we have been very early champions of One M2M, which has been cooking for a number of years, is into its second release and is supported by some 300 companies and a number of standards organizations,” InterDigital VP Alan Carlton told Telecoms.com. “This motivated us to work with Machina to explore in a more quantifiable sense what the difference would be between continuing to build our smart cities on a bespoke, proprietary basis and a more open, inclusive approach.”

“Government bodies investing in smart city initiatives to drive civic improvements are under constant scrutiny to ensure public funds are spent wisely,” said Jeremy Green, lead author of the report. “Furthermore, the existing ‘internet of silos’ approach to IoT deployment is delaying the widespread adoption of IoT solutions, including smart cities. Our research demonstrates that open standards can solve both challenges, ensuring money is invested more efficiently, and dramatically accelerating IoT adoption and growth.”

IoT is still at an early stage and the potential scale of it is so vast that it’s very tricky to quantify at any time, let alone in 2025. But the larger the potential market the stronger the argument for open standards and interoperability. The commercial appeal of owning a piece of any future IoT standard is obvious, but a siloed, fragmented approach seems unsustainable.

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