IoT standards — the backbone of India’s smart city mission?

As India becomes a connected nation, Internet of Things (IoT) devices are being put to use by multiple sectors across the subcontinent. And the interconnectedness of these IoT systems across industries could play a crucial role in India’s smart city ambitions.

Sectors like the Indian telecommunications industry are heavily dependent on the adoption of IoT to monetize 4G, and to push forward 5G trials. Meanwhile, the oil & gas market along with the nuclear, chemical, and manufacturing industries will all be keen to leverage IoT to manage their supply chains, improve efficiencies, and to reduce costs.

Tata Communications, part of one of India’s largest conglomerates, for instance, has an IoT services division that has brought in three new customers and deployed nearly 15,000 new devices across 45 cities. “We actually did get a tailwind there. The interest in IoT solutions has clearly increased,” explained Tata Communications’ Head of IoT Business, Alok Bardiya, to Business Insider.

And Gartner’s research is showing that 47% of organizations are still planning to invest more in IoT implementations to reduce costs. The prevalence of IoT connections is happening at just the right time, coinciding with India’s Smart City Mission program.

India’s Smart City Mission is a national plan to develop 100 smart cities across the country, and interconnected smart devices can play a significant role in making those townships ‘smart’. However, without standardization to hold IoT devices across sectors and cities to a unified regulatory benchmark, the risk of cybersecurity threats like ransomware, advanced persistent threats, and malware could be disastrous when implementation comes to pass.

Aware of this fault, the Telecommunications Standards Development Society India (TSDSI) has transposed a machine-to-machine (M2M) and IoT technology standards initiative, oneM2M, to implement the standard at a national level.

OneM2M is a global standards initiative that consists of eight of the world’s preeminent standards development organizations from Japan, China, Europe, the US, India, and South Korea. The standards comprehensively cover the requirements, architecture, API specifications, security solutions, and interoperability for machine-to-machine and IoT technologies.

“We have completed this adoption process after following an exhaustive process of consultation as well as critical analysis by a consultative committee,” said Udai Srivastava, senior deputy director-general at the Indian government’s telecom standard body Telecom Engineering Centre (TEC). “IoT/M2M will play a significant role in the expansion of the digitally connected society and the realization of the Smart City Mission program in India.”

As India strives to deliver over 100 smart cities across the country, standard-based deployment would ensure interoperability, security, and multi-vendor deployments in efforts to bring India closer to the goal of becoming “Digital India”, reports the TSDSI.

With the emphasis on IoT standardization in areas like smart cities, the TSDSI transposition of the oneM2M standard underlines the significance of a standardized framework to help enable a smarter and more connected Indian ecosystem.

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