U.S. group drafting standards for industrial strength Internet

by Steve Blum • , , ,

Sorry. I thought you said the castanet of things.

The U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology is coordinating an effort – with broad industry support – to create security and operating standards for industrial machine-to-machine (M2M) data communications.

There are already a couple of efforts underway amongst mobile carriers and equipment makers to standardise protocols for wireless segments of those networks. The expectation is that billions – 50 billion by 2020? – of devices will communicate directly back to the Internet of Things via mobile data modules.

But mobile standards are just one piece of the plumbing. A consortium of ten U.S. companies, including GE, AT&T, IBM and Cisco, is working with NIST to develop standards that will support interoperable M2M applications and services across all platforms and networks. As NIST’s S. Shyam Sunder explained in an interview with EE Times

The trick is to look at all these issues holistically rather than domain by domain,“ said Sunder in an interview with EE Times. ”This way, you wind up with common frameworks and don’t have to re-learn lessons of other domains.

The initial foundation for the work is a white paper published by GE last year. Broadly, it separates the Internet of Things into three broad categories: the things themselves, which can be as small as a nanobot or as big as a supertanker, the systems that people use to interact with or otherwise benefit from those things, and the analytical platforms that sit between the two.

The group very plainly sees this effort as an opportunity to gain a competitive advantage for the U.S. by being the first to develop and implement standards for the Internet of Things. The plan is to publish and test the first draft within a year.