Standards will be critical for the emergence of the Internet of Things


Machina Research has published a new report entitled, “Standards for the Internet of Things”. The report examines existing and emerging standards for communications, connectivity, networking, service layers, data abstraction and discoverability. The key findings are as follows:

  • While there is today a mess of proprietary and open standards in the IoT, Machina Research expects that open standards will generally dominate.
  • Growth in the IoT is currently delayed by the existence of multiple competing technologies and platforms. For ‘Subnets of Things’ to give way to the Internet of Things requires the emergence of a small number of leading solutions across connectivity and service layers.
  • The diversity of requirements within the IoT means that there will be no single ‘winner’ in terms of wireless standards. Different technologies will be needed in different circumstances.
  • OneM2M should become the de facto reference framework for interfacing between multiple communications networks, assuming the bureaucracy implicit in standards developments organisations (SDOs) doesn’t delay it.
  • The standards discussion will continue to evolve in the direction of abstraction, semantics, and discoverability. This is particularly evident in the work done by OMA with the LightweightM2M protocol, the Eclipse Foundation, HyperCat and AllJoyn.
  • Standardisation will take time. We expect that the foreseeable future will be dominated by ‘Subnets of Things’ that coalesce around common ownership of data or common cause of data owners.

Commenting on the findings, report author William Webb said, “Currently, what has been termed the Internet of Things is a jumble of open and proprietary standards, with a lot of vertical and horizontal silos. Realistically, to move from this ‘Internet of Silos’ to the Internet of Things is going to require standardisation. The emergence of a small number of leading solutions in the various spaces of local connectivity, wide area connectivity and service or application layer would simplify application development and allow industry to coalesce around a few global standards.”

Matt Hatton, director at Machina Research commented: “Unpicking the complexity of the standards environment is an important thing for our clients and we’re delighted to have pulled together such an extensive study looking at all the key developments.” Turning to the findings he said: “Clearly the development of standards is going to be critical for the Internet of Things to reach its huge potential. Today the IoT isn’t really worthy of the ‘Internet’ moniker. Greater standardisation is implicit in evolving from what we’ve previously termed machine-to-machine (M2M) to a true Internet of Things.”

About the report

The report “Standards for the Internet of Things” provides detailed analysis of standards, old and new, that will shape the emerging Internet of Things. It considers the various relevant standards covering communications, connectivity, networking, service layers, data abstraction and discoverability. Many have been around for decades, while others are just starting to emerge. It also examines standards relevant to specific vertical markets such as automotive or connected buildings. It includes discussion of the various standards development organisations as well as providing views on issues such as the importance of IP, the relative merits of different wireless architectures, and the impact of TV White Space.

Standards and standardisation initiatives covered in the report include 6LowPAN, AllJoyn, BACnet, Bluetooth (including Bluetooth Low Energy), Cellular (including GSM/GPRS, W-CDMA, LTE), CoAP, Continua Health Alliance, DECT ULE, Eclipse Foundation, EnOcean, FI-WARE, GENIVI, HyperCat, LonWorks, M-Bus, MirrorLink, MQTT, OMA LightweightM2M, OneM2M, Open Interconnect Consortium (OIC), REST, Urban OS, Weightless, Wi-Fi, and Zigbee (and 802.15.4).

The report was compiled by William Webb, CEO of the Weightless SIG, the standards body developing a new global M2M technology. He is a Director at Webb Search, an independent consultancy, and President-Elect of the IET.

The report is available as part of the Machina Research Advisory Service.


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