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Blog F-Interop: getting involved

Posted 5 Sep 2016

Michele Nati, previously Lead Technologist in Personal Data and Trust at Digital Catapult, shares details about the F-Interop Open Call and how we can help shape your ideas into a winning proposal.

Interoperability: the story so far

Digital Catapult recently published a series of blog posts about IoT interoperability. Firstly, we focused on identifying the challenges SMEs are currently facing to develop interoperable solutions. More recently, we discussed the benefits to developing more standardised solutions, as well as the current opportunities to lower barriers in this respect.

We also explained how the EU H2020 F-Interop project is supporting additional third parties through a competitive selection process, distributing funding to develop tools for remote and online interoperability testing.

Working with F-Interop

The current F-Interop platform supports the whole testing lifecycle of a product. To test conformance and interoperability, a number of steps are required. Depending on the selected IoT device and protocol, this will require:

  • defining test descriptions (what the test aims to verify)
  • implementing test scripts (the sequence of steps needing to be remotely triggered to implement the test case)
  • providing test analysers (the tools collecting the test scripts’ execution results and issuing a fail/succeed response, or a certification label).

Basic functionalities to support the above steps, for currently supported IoT protocols, are provided by the current F-Interop platform but more work needs to be done.

Getting involved

In order to achieve this, F-Interop is looking to award a maximum of 19 proposals, with funding prizes ranging between €10,000 and €100,000 through their Open Call. Proposals need to be submitted by 25 January 2017, and will need to fulfil one of the following criteria:

  • build new tools to support the functionalities above for new IoT protocols and devices;
  • propose and implement new test designs to validate conformance and interoperability of different features, for already supported protocols;
  • perform usability tests of the current F-Interop platform;
  • organise remote and online plugtest events, involving different IoT communities using the new and enhanced platform.

Proposals should also identify a clear business case, to highlight their expected impact.

Business models could for instance revolve around issuing certification and maintaining a registry of certified device; providing tutorials to use test tools, or commercialising external hardware required to remotely access the F-Interop platform.

We’re particularly looking for entrants interested in engaging with new and emerging IoT communities developing interoperable standards and solutions, as well as anyone involved with one of the following communities: Bluetooth Low Energy, OMA Lightweight M2M, 6TiSCH, Constrained Application Protocol, 6LowPAN, RPL, IPv6 ready, Low Power Wide Area Networks, Web of Things and Hypercat.

How can Digital Catapult help?

Digital Catapult can provide advice to help scope and align your proposal to the F-Interop objectives. We can help you develop tools to:

  • test protocol security features;
  • maintain confidentiality of data collected from test outcomes (platform users are not happy that data showing their solutions failing compliance tests could be disclosed);
  • help the automatic issuing of certificates for compliant devices and interoperable implementations;
  • replicate local testing facilities and send recorded traces to the F-Interop servers for analysis;
  • allow synchronisation of remote devices tested with the F-Interop platform;
  • generate anti-tampering messages to ensure validity of tests;
  • measure device usage in performance tests.