ITU starts IoT smart cities standardisation

The ITU has begun work on identifying the standardisation requirements of IoT tech, specifically citing smart city applications as its initial focus.

One of the primary challenges facing broader adoption and rollout of IoT tech in a smart city environment relates to the interoperability of sensors and networks. The ITU claims its new working group, which has been given the snappy name of “ITU-T Study Group 20: IoT and its applications, including smart cities and communities”, will develop standards to help integrate end-to-end architectures for IoT, and the interoperability of various IoT platforms through numerous industry verticals.

“The coming five years will be crucial in ensuring that IoT technologies meet their potential,” said Chaesub Lee, who is the director of the ITU-T’s standardisation bureau. “ITU-T is very active in IoT standardisation, and we aim to assist cities around the world in creating the conditions necessary for IoT technologies to prove their worth in addressing urban-development challenges.”

The chairman of the study group, who is from the UAE’s TRA, Nasser Almarzouqi, reckons the group is well positioned to help bridge the digital and physical worlds in future years.

“Networks of IoT technologies will improve our understanding of how cities function, introducing many opportunities for efficiency gains,” he said. “With participants representing the many stakeholders in the field of information and communication technologies, this Study Group will be influential in promoting the development of the highly efficient ‘systems of systems’ that will help bridge the digital divide and enable a more connected world.”

Meanwhile, semiconductor specialist STMicroelectronics has launched an IoT solution focusing on Voice-Over-Bluetooth Low Energy for wearable tech and remote control apps. While utilising Bluetooth itself for voice communications is a long-established precedent, bringing the functionality to the newer, low-power standard indicates more readiness for IoT-based sensors and devices.

The software platform behind the solution is intended to be customisable and supports designers working with various digital microphones. The licensing program behind the solution is also based on open environments which, ST claims, support designers using ARM cortex 32-bit controllers. Ultimately, for wearables such as smart watches to be usable, there needs to be an alternative to the touch UI we use for smartphones. A combination of voice and gestures seems the most likely and this STMicro announcement appears designed to address that area.

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