1. What’s so important about IoT interoperability?

What’s so important about IoT interoperability?

Interoperability is a great word. The American Federal Communications Commission (FCC) defines interoperability as the ability of “units from two or more different entities to interact with one another and to exchange information according to a prescribed method in order to achieve predictable results”.

That “prescribed method” refers to the technological standards that allow for collaboration and co-innovation. Now, I could go into the details of the standard for connecting smart objects which has been built on LwM2M, CoAP and IPSO protocols, but the beauty of interoperability is that you don’t really need to know what any of that means.

Once the IoT is truly interoperable, it just works when you turn it on. Results become predictable, and businesses cases are easier to plan. The IoT will become more like the internet we know today, where common, open structures create astounding results.

Standardization is how we make IoT grow up

Right now, I am preparing for my presentation at IoT World, where I am sure we will hear plenty of enthusiastic, optimistic visions of the IoT to come. But when we take a hard look at the IoT ecosystem of 2018, we must admit there is still a lack of maturity and structure.

Ericsson has driven standards for cellular connectivity, and that effort is now naturally extending into setting standards for IoT, and more specifically, cellular IoT. With standardization, the IoT becomes a platform from which collaboration between organizations, both private and public, will benefit us all. (Queue the dramatic music!)

So, I too can get carried away with optimistic visions of the IoT. But at Ericsson, though we may be optimists, we are also realists. In the city of Dallas, we are helping to turn dreams of a standardized, interoperable IoT into reality.

Interoperability brings a metroplex together

The Dallas-Fort Worth metro area is the fourth biggest in the US, incorporating dozens of individual municipalities. As the city grew, the lines that once defined those municipalities begin to blur, but their traffic and safety systems remained fragmented.

Regardless of city limits, commuters need to travel to work, goods need to be transported and emergency vehicles need to get to wherever they are needed most. But serious traffic congestion has been holding up all of those processes in Dallas.

Now, a collaboration between Ericsson, Intelight and Teleste is helping to break up traffic and information gridlock. Four cities in the metroplex have launched a regional system employing the Ericsson Connected Urban Transport ITS platform.

Our standardized approach for connecting devices and sensors allows these cities to collaborate and share data, regardless of legacy platforms. This helps engineers improve traffic flow, and allows emergency services to optimize response times.

Setting the beat for accelerated IoT growth

Just before Mobile World Congress 2018, we launched our IoT Accelerator Marketplace. The portal provides a structured place where app developers can work with the global telecom service provider community. My colleagues and I believe this standardized approach, focused on interoperability, will allow the IoT to rapidly mature.

Building the IoT ecosystem with Ericsson IoT Accelerator

A technological standard is a bit like a song – when everyone in the band knows the tune, they can sing along together, and even improvise. Right now, the band is just warming up, but tempo of IoT innovation is increasing, and the harmony of interoperability gains new voices every day.

If you are attending IoT World in Santa Clara, be sure to stop by my presentation “Unlocking the value of IoT on the road to 5G” on May 17, 2:00pm local.

Written by Shannon Lucas

Shannon Lucas, VP, Head of Emerging Business Global Customer Unit, has over twenty years’ experience working with startups, launching her own ventures, and driving innovation into the world’s largest companies.


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