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IoT takes centre stage in France

Posted 2 Nov 2017

As part of our involvement in the F-Interop project, we recently travelled to the ETSI Headquarters in Sophia Antipolis, France, to attend their IoT Week.

The ETSI IoT Week is a week of events, including presentations, tutorials and demonstrations organised by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (aka ETSI). The week focused on IoT and in particular interoperability aspects, the existing challenges and ongoing initiatives. Those initiatives are aimed at eradicating the gaps in creating global IoT networks where data created within one system can be consumed in a different one.

The ability to use sensors to monitor and predict the spread of dangerous pollution levels across cities and reduce them by integrating the data with intelligent transport networks, is just one way that the Internet of Things (IoT) is helping shape, or reshape our world. In order to find ways to facilitate more use cases, a week of discussions took place in France, with a strong focus on interoperability of devices connected to IoT.

The drive for interoperability

IoT technologies, whether they are about data collection, data analysis or secure end-to-end data communications, are often based on proprietary, ad hoc or open protocols and solutions. This tends to create silos where information is only collected and used for a specific purpose.

Yet, the real value for IoT lies in boosting interoperability where applications are able to use data from different domains to extend the reach and effectiveness of the delivery of services that span across sectors. This helps to spearhead the drive to create and develop new markets and opportunities.

The task of combining information across different domains (e.g. mixing transport with pollution data within a city to better plan mobility) is a daunting and at some times, impossible task. At the ETSI IoT week, IoT interoperability experts and organisations were investigating the options that will help to overcome the barriers to achieving true data interoperability.

Why did we attend?

As part of the EU Project F-Interop, it became clear during the course of the week that in order for the IoT to achieve interoperability of solutions, in particular at communication and semantic level, we need to do a lot more testing. Most of this testing is currently being undertaken when vendors of different solutions meet at dedicated events, or bring their devices and protocols to respective test houses. However, this approach may not always work for small businesses due to the associated costs.

For this reason, F-Interop is devising a new platform for this testing phase to provide access to all bodies. The idea is to get interoperability testing happening remotely and online for a number of IoT solutions and protocols.

To help make this happen, Digital Catapult is currently supporting a number of IoT communication protocols, including CoAP, 6TiSCH, 6LoWPAN and LoRA, and oneM2M ontologies for semantic interoperability. The platform has been designed in a modular and generic way to allow easy integration of other protocols such as Zigbee, MQTT and test suites that are developed by others, including for instance the Eclipse IoT Foundation that is driving the IoT-Testware project.

The first version of the F-Interop platform is up and running. We now need help to test it and understand how well it replicates the experience of current interoperability testing practices and off the back of that, generate feedback reports on how we can improve it. We are also seeking out opportunities for users to test the platform across larger interoperability events that will be organised and performed online.

If you are an SME or developer with experience in IoT interoperability testing, we encourage you to get involved with our F-Interop funding programme. There is the opportunity to receive £10k to support your testing work. On the other hand, if you are an organisation that’s involved in standardising activities, or manage a test house, we are interested in discussing how your support can be rewarded by helping to organise online F-Interop testing events. For more details check out our open call page that includes the type of projects we are awarding. Alternatively, join our webinar on 10th of November 2017.