With the number of bodies, platforms and ‘standards’ relating to IoT growing rapidly, Cisco is hoping to provide some overarching uniformity with the development of the IoT World Forum Reference Model, which it unveiled at the 2014 IoT World Forum, billed as “an exclusive industry event, hosted by Cisco.”
According to a Cisco white paper Attaining IoT Value: How to Move from Connecting Things to Capturing Insights, in just the past two years, the number of IoT-related standards bodies has jumped from two (in 2012) to seven (in 2014). In addition, 260 companies are now participating in IoT consortia.
In a Cisco blog post this week, Maciej Kranz, vice president of Cisco’s Corporate Technology Group, said: “The good news is that the industry is recognising that a fragmented, proprietary model does not scale, and inhibits the value of IoT deployments.”
He said that IoT standardisation efforts were focused on four different areas, and listed these as evolving existing IP and Ethernet standards; aligning industry standards with IP and ethernet and creating horizontal architectural frameworks.
“The IoT World Forum has been working on a common model to drive interoperability across all IoT components: devices and controllers, networks, edge computing, data storage, applications, and analytics, Kranz said. “The IoT World Forum Reference Model organises these components into layers and provides a graphical representation of IoT and all that it entails. The IoT World Forum Reference Model opens the door to an ‘Open IoT’ system, with guaranteed interoperability.
Framework for unified IoT industry
According to the Attaining IoT Value white paper, the IoT World Forum Reference Model, “seeks to provide a common IoT terminology, bring clarity to how information flows and is processed, and offer a framework for creating a unified IoT industry. The overall goal of the initiative is to define an open system for IoT as a first step toward IoT product interoperability across vendors. The IoT World Forum Reference Model assists IT departments, CIOs, and developers by offering practical suggestions for addressing IoT challenges such as scalability, interoperability, agility, and compatibility with legacy systems.”
It said the model had “resulted from collaboration among the 28 members of the IoT World Forum’s Architecture, Management, and Analytics Working Group, which includes Intel, GE, Itron, SAP, Oracle and Cisco, among others.” Cisco said also that ten companies including IBM and Intel had committed to develop, prototype and test the reference model going forward.
A key component of the model appears to be fog computing, Cisco’s version of edge computing. Flavio Bonomi, the former head of the advanced architecture and research organisation at Cisco, said: “This reference model is a significant step forward to move toward a true fog computing architecture, providing the framework for edge-based analytics, autonomous control and distributed computing.”
A Cisco PowerPoint presentation detailing the model can be found here.
The IoT World Forum 2015 will be held in Dubai from December 6-8. It promises to “Show the value and momentum of IoT through global deployments and business outcomes; create a sense of urgency for customers; address the IoT security concern and highlight possibilities and success stories; show progress and results in key verticals and technological areas.”