The IoT Global Standards Initiative

5th March 2014

The Internet-of-things market is growing exponentially – and to some observers it may seem to be an unchecked industry with regards to standards and compatibility. However it isn’t too late to define workable standards – and just that is being done with the International Telecommunications Union’s Internet-of-Things Global Standards Initiative.

In case you’re not familiar with it, the International Telecommunications Union is a specialised agency of the United Nations that is responsible for issues that concern information and communication technologies.

This group coordinates the shared global use of the radio spectrum, promotes international cooperation in assigning satellite orbits, works to improve telecommunication infrastructure in the developing world, and assists in the development and coordination of worldwide technical standards – ITU’s standards-making efforts are its best known and oldest activity.

The ITU’s Internet of Things Global Standards Initiative (IoT GSI) is an initiative of the ITU’s standardisation group that promotes a unified approach for the development of technical standards and recommendations to enable the best possible standardisation and interoperability of the Internet of Things on a global scale.

This international initiative of standardisation has the potential to benefit everybody, from the developers and vendors of Internet-of-Things products and solutions through to consumers. Recommendations developed by the IoT GSI are developed in collaboration with other standards developing organisations – allowing developers, vendors and providers working in the emerging Internet-of-Things industry worldwide to offer a wide range of Internet-of-Things technologies in a standardised and interoperable way. The IoT-GSI also aims to act as an umbrella for further development of IoT standards worldwide.

The purpose of IoT-GSI is to provide a visible single location for information on and development of IoT standards, these being the detailed standards necessary for IoT deployment and to give service providers the means to offer the wide range of services expected from the IoT with a high degree of global standardisation.

By building on the work of other ITU standardisation group efforts in other areas such as network aspects of identification, ubiquitous sensor networks and machine-to-machine communications – the ITU can hopefully bring together different IoT-related standardisation groups both within the ITU and in the wider industry to develop detailed standards for IoT deployment.

From the global perspective of technical standardisation, the IoT can be viewed as a global infrastructure for the information society, enabling advanced services by interconnecting physical and virtual things based on new, and existing, interoperable information and communication technologies. ITU sees enormous potential in the Internet of Things, and hence enormous value and importance in these standardisation efforts, harmonising different approaches to the architecture of the IoT worldwide.

The ITU sees the IoT GSI as important because the deep changes to the fundamental approaches being taken to the provision of situation-aware telecommunication services from network-connected things, and the associated breadth of topics that need to be addressed, are well beyond what could be covered within any particular study group following routine standards development processes.
Furthermore the GSI also provides essential external visibility for the ITU standardisation group’s work, and is a clear and obvious place to go for information on the sector’s work in this particular area. Indeed, it serves as a banner under which to unify all the IoT-relevant activities being carried out within the ITU standardisation group.


Once finished, the IoT GSI aims to have developed a consistent definition of what the Internet of Things actually is, to provide a common working platform bringing together different standards-making, industry and academic representatives, and to develop consistent standards for IoT deployments – taking into account the work already done in other standards development organisations, and recognising that global coordination is the key to widespread success of the IoT.

To meet these objectives, the ITU Joint Coordination Activity on the Internet of Things (JCA IoT) was formed in 2006, bringing together representatives from numerous standards developing organisations, including industry forums and consortia, working in IoT-related areas.

The Joint Coordination Activity provides a platform to exchange IoT information and discuss coordination matters, avoiding overlap and duplicated effort. One of the activities of the JCA is to maintain the ITU’s IoT Standards Roadmap that includes standards from the worldwide ecosystem of standards development organisations that are either approved already or presently under development.

ITU’s IoT-GSI acts as an umbrella for the various standardisation efforts worldwide. Founded on the principle of international cooperation between governments and the private sector, ITU represents a unique global forum through which governments and industry can work towards consensus on a wide range of issues affecting the future direction of this increasingly important industry.

The technology community has highlighted a need to focus standards work in one place, distributing expert resources efficiently and avoiding the emergence of competitive approaches and the GSI responds to this, promoting a unified approach for the development of technical standards and recommendations in order to best enable the IoT efficiently and consistently on a global scale.

Recommendations developed under the IoT-GSI by the various ITU standardisation groups in collaboration with other standards developing organisations will enable technology and service providers worldwide to offer the wide range of services and products that are expected to emerge from the Internet-of-Things industry in the most interoperable and consistent way.

Although doing so may be tempting from an economical perspective, ignoring standards in your IoT-enabled product design could cost you more in the long term, by losing interoperability with other systems – or even scaring off potential customers. Therefore it’s important to be aware of the options in the market and how they can benefit your situation.

Here at the LX Group we have experience in developing IoT systems using various platforms, and can help with any or all stages of product design – to bring your ideas to life.

To get started, join us for an obligation-free and confidential discussion about your ideas and how we can help bring them to life – click here to contact us, or telephone 1800 810 124.

LX is an award-winning electronics design company based in Sydney, Australia. LX services include full turnkey design, electronics, hardware, software and firmware design. LX specialises in embedded systems and wireless technologies design.

Published by LX Pty Ltd for itself and the LX Group of companies, including LX Design House, LX Solutions and LX Consulting, LX Innovations.

Muhammad AwaisThe IoT Global Standards Initiative

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