The Internet of Things is supposed to connect every aspect of our lives from our homes and cars to the objects we wear and the goods we consume. It’s even connecting ice machines. But one thing the Internet of Things lacks is a unifying standard.
Devices will be connected by different radio technologies: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, ZigBee, and a host of 2G and mobile broadband cellular technologies. There’s really no way of assuring your ‘thing’ will connect to the network or networks available at any given time.
The mobile industry is trying to rectify the problem at least as it pertains to cellular machine-to-machine (M2M) technologies. The bigger issue of fragmentation between bands and technologies isn’t going to get worked out anytime soon — you’re not going to connect a GSM wristwatch to a CDMA or Wi-Fi network. But often you can’t connect that GSM wristwatch to a GSM network either. Roaming between networks that use the same technology requires not only a business arrangement with each carrier, but a common protocol.
A group of global wireless standards bodies are trying to tackle that problem. The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) and the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) in the U.S. are working with their counterparts in Japan, Korea and China to develop a common “service layer” which can be embedded in every M2M device, making them compatible with M2M application servers hosted by any global operator.
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