All posts tagged: global

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

After the initial excitement of generating an idea for a new Internet of Things device, there’s still countless design considerations to take into account – some of which you may not have even heard of. And a fair amount of these will be generated by the needs of specific markets around the world. So let’s consider some of the challenges involved in designing an Internet-of-Things device or appliance and bringing it to the global market.

What are some of the different factors that need to be taken into account when bringing a hardware device to market internationally? The need for multi-voltage off-line power supplies and multi-lingual product manuals are well-known things we’re used to with all our technology products – but with modern Internet-of-Things gadgets employing Internet connectivity, cloud computing and wireless radio-frequency mesh networks, there are some increasingly important factors to consider which may not be as familiar to the design team.

For mains-powered systems, international differences in mains voltage and frequency are an obvious factor to start with to ensure compatibility with the worldwide market. Modern switch-mode power supplies can easily be designed to span the possible worldwide voltage range between 100 V AC and 240 V AC without manual switching or configuration, at grid frequencies between 50 and 60 Hz. However, it should be remembered that the mains voltage is only assured within a tolerance of around plus or minus 10 percent, so an example of a good input voltage specification for a well-designed modern SMPS might be 85-265 V RMS AC at a grid frequency of 50-60 Hz. Extra attention is needed in systems where a clock or timebase is derived from the frequency of the AC grid – in systems of this sort, manual specification of the frequency may be required even if the power supply itself does not care about the AC frequency.

lx1When designing and deploying wireless sensor networks, Internet-of-Things networks and similar modern technologies where radio communication is used, attention also needs to be paid to differing international allocations of RF spectrum and licensing requirements for the use of the RF spectrum. Spectrum allocations and licensing requirements for Industrial, Scientific and Medical (ISM) bands differ between countries – for example, the 915 MHz band should not be used in countries outside ITU Region 2 except those countries that specifically allow it, such as Australia and Israel.

A device that operates with a certain frequency spectrum and power level that requires no license, or falls into a class license, in one country may not be able to be legally operated in another country without specific operator licensing. For example, some devices operating in the 70 cm (433 MHz) spectrum that fall within the Low Interference Potential Device (LIPD) class license in Australia and hence can be freely operated cannot be used in the United States except by licensed amateur radio operators. The European Union’s Reduction of Hazardous Substances (ROHS) directive took effect in 2006, restricting the use of certain substances considered harmful to health and the environment, such as lead and cadmium, except in technological applications where elimination of these elements is not viable.

While RoHS compliance is not required for all electronic equipment sold throughout the world and is only strictly required for devices sold into the EU market, it is achieving widespread acceptance throughout the electronic manufacturing industry worldwide. However, in some specialised applications where extremely high reliability and resilience against factors such as tin-whisker formation is required, such as space and defence technology, these factors may take precedence over ROHS compliance and the use of lead-containing solder alloys and platings may be specified.

lx2Different testing organisations are responsible for setting and enforcing the standards for electrical safety and RF spectrum usage in different countries, and it can be challenging to keep track of the different testing requirements needed before bringing your product to market in every market country.

For example, Underwriters Laboratories is well known in the United States for their role in drafting safety standards and providing compliance testing procedures for safety-related factors, whilst approval from the FCC is required to recognise compliance with RF spectrum and electromagnetic interference requirements – a completely separate thing to safety certification. And for another example, the TUV provides a similar role in the verification of safety-related standard compliance in the German market.

Other social and socio-economic factors that might not be as obvious can affect the user experience your product provides in different customer markets – for example, a device that constantly needs to “phone home” to an Internet-connected service may not function effectively in a country without widely available, or reliable, Internet access. In a situation like this, it may be beneficial to have a system designed to store and buffer its collected data locally on a storage device and only synchronise with an Internet service occasionally when connectivity may be available.

In conclusion, there’s a myriad of not only standards but also operational considerations to take in account when designing your next product for the global market. However don’t let that put you off – the greater the challenge, the greater the possible success. But if you’re not sure about testing, standards, compliance, markets abroad or any other factor – parter with an organisation that does: the LX Group.

Here at the LX Group we have the experience and team to make things happen. With our experience with connected devices, embedded and wireless hardware/software design, and ability to transfer ideas from the whiteboard to the white box – we can partner with you for your success.

We can create or tailor just about anything from a wireless temperature sensor to a complete Internet-enabled system for you – within your required time-frame and your budget. For more information or a 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 AwaisDesigning Internet of Things Devices for the World