Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

ITU IoT study group to focus on smart cities

Steve Rogerson
June 23, 2015
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has established a study group to address the standardisation requirements of IoT technologies, with an initial focus on IoT applications in smart cities.
The ITU-T group will be responsible for international standards to enable the coordinated development of IoT technologies, including M2M communications and ubiquitous sensor networks. The group aims to develop standards that leverage IoT technologies to address urban-development problems. A key part of this study will be the standardisation of end-to-end architectures for IoT and mechanisms for the interoperability of IoT applications and datasets employed by various vertically oriented industry sectors.
“Building smart sustainable cities will require efficient collaboration between the public and private sectors,” said ITU secretary-general Houlin Zhao. “This new ITU-T study group will bring together a diverse selection of stakeholders, placing ITU’s technical expertise at the service of other industry sectors as well as the national and metropolitan administrations responsible for urban development.”
The deployment of IoT technologies is expected to connect an estimated 50 billion devices to the network by 2020. IoT is contributing to the convergence of industry sectors, with utilities, healthcare and transportation among the many sectors with a stake in the future of IoT technologies. The ITU-T group aims to provide the specialised IoT standardisation platform necessary for this convergence to rest on a cohesive set of international standards.
IoT technologies provide developed and developing countries with an opportunity to transform city infrastructure, benefiting from the efficiencies of intelligent buildings and transportation systems, and smart energy and water networks. The ITU says it is well positioned to assist government and industry in capitalising on this opportunity.
“The coming five years will be crucial in ensuring that IoT technologies meet their potential,” said Chaesub Lee, director of the ITU telecommunications 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.”
In May, Dubai became the world’s first city to assess the efficiency and sustainability of its operations using the key performance indicators developed by the ITU’s focus group on smart sustainable cities. The two-year pilot project will evaluate the feasibility of the indicators with the aim of contributing to their international standardisation.
“Networks of IoT technologies will improve our understanding of how cities function, introducing many opportunities for efficiency gains,” said Nasser Almarzouqi of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of the United Arab Emirates and chairman of the new study group. “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.”
Singapore has offered to host the inaugural meeting of the IoT study group.