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uCIFI Alliance to unveil universal data model for smart city interoperability

The uCIFI Alliance is unveiling a data model that will provide interoperability and interchangeability between IoT devices from various suppliers

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Data model aims to eliminate the dependence on suppliers when building smart cities
Data model aims to eliminate the dependence on suppliers when building smart cities

The international industry and end-customer uCIFI Alliance will announce a data model that aims to provide interoperability and interchangeability for smart city Internet of Things (IoT) devices in a move to eliminate dependence on suppliers at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, which runs 25-28 February.

 

According to uCIFI these can be from various suppliers on any IoT network and will start with LoRaWAN, NB-IoT or wireless mesh.

 

Earier this week, the Open & Agile Smart Cities network announced than 120 cities have signed up to a set of universal tools that aim to increase the speed and openness of innovation and development for smart cities data and services as well as avoid vendor lock-in.

 

 

Open Mobile Alliance

 

 

The data model will be released as an open source document as well as a resource on the Open Mobile Alliance (OMA) repository with the aim of “significantly” accelerating adoption among IoT device suppliers.

 

Despite multiple IoT industry alliances and specification consortia, cities and utilities are still suffering from a lack of full interoperability when it comes to connected solutions including smart streetlights, smart waste, smart parking, smart environments, smart water or smart grids, the alliance notes.

 

The main reason for this is the absence of a common way to describe and communicate IoT device’s data values (such as temperature, dimming levels, active control program, presence detection, filling levels, and noise levels).

 

As a for example, there is no agreed data format for smart streetlight dimming controllers from different LoraWan-based solution suppliers. This is also the same for waste filling levels and parking occupancy sensors.

 

Each solution provider has its own proprietary way to describe device’s data therefore preventing solutions to be fully interoperable at the device and network level.

Taking a pragmatic approach, uCIFI’s technical workgroup first listed all the smart city and smart utility use cases to be supported and transformed them into a list of IoT devices

 

As a result, cities are left with two options: either be dependent on one single vendor during the next 10 years or spend large sums in integration services and vendor-specific gateways to decode the data produced by each supplier’s device.

 

The uCIFI data model will enable smart city devices to interoperate with each other to support many smart city use cases, the alliance claims.

 

Taking a pragmatic approach, uCIFI’s technical workgroup first listed all the smart city and smart utility use cases to be supported and transformed them into a list of IoT devices and device’s data within a data model that can be adopted on any constrained IoT communication network.

 

These attributes were modelled using light weight M2M (or LwM2M), the most common and standardised protocol for constrained IoT network, commonly use on LoRaWAN, NB-IoT and wireless mesh IoT networks.

 

Building a resilient smart city model

 

In addition, the alliance worked on both device-to-cloud as well as device-to-device mechanisms to enable the uCIFI data model to support more complex, yet common, services such as multicast grouping, sensor-to-actuator dynamic control and calendar-based control program to standardise standalone mode operations that are key to resilient smart city models.

 

The data model, as well as all the alliance’s deliverables, will be open sourced by the end of 2019. In the meantime, uCIFI said it will only be accessible to alliance members. Membership is open for cities and utilities (free of charge) and any industry player which is committed to creating more open and interoperable smart city and smart utility solutions.

 

To hear more about uCIFI and its data model, join it at Mobile World Congress on 26 February at 10am on Kerlink’s booth (8.0C11).

 

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