WIRELESS NETWORKS How a standardised ecosystem can help drive widespread growth for IoT Phil Beecher, chairman of the Wi-SUN Alliance, provides a vision of the future. A ccording to industry analyst firm Gartner, Internet of Things (IoT) endpoints will grow 32.9% up until 2020, by which time the installed base will have reached 20.4 billion units. The firm also predicts spending on endpoints and services will reach almost $2 trillion this year. With a market experiencing such a growth surge, it is imperative for any organisation thinking about implementing an IoT initiative, to give careful consideration to their chosen network wireless technology. This decision will ultimately define performance, longevity, reliability, interoperability and scalability for many years to come. Interoperability will be a key component in driving the growth of IoT and creating a standardised ecosystem, whereby devices can communicate and developers can work together. As a result, this will almost cer tainly lead to even more product options and features suppor ted by stronger pricing competition. Smart city applications are still in their infancy, and there will be many new developments and applications in the near future. Like the internet, IoT networks should be built on a set of standard protocols and structured to provide the flexibility to support this growing range of applications, as well as provide highly resilient connectivity. IoT networks additionally need to be fault tolerant, while providing the capacity to deal with very large numbers of devices. 40 | October 2017 In order to support multi-service networks, it makes sense for a local authority or municipality to use the same communications infrastructure to control a wide variety of applications, such as street lighting, traffic management systems and smart parking, as well as applications as yet unknown. A single communications infrastructure not only avoids the replication of network equipment, but also enables new and smart functionality where different applications can interact and share data. Among the new and more diverse applications becoming available, there are an increasing number that require low latency and localised processing. This need for distributed control, together with low latency and the need for resilient, fault tolerant networks, demonstrate the value of peer to peer mesh networks. One of the major benefits of being a network owner or operator in a standardised IoT ecosystem is that there is no need to be locked into a single vendor. Solutions built on open standards, supported by a certification program for interoperability, provide the network operator with a choice of vendors, competitive pricing and the confidence of a continuity of supply. Set to develop a multitude of towns and cities, with the goal of enhancing the lives of us as consumers, businesses and other organisations. There are many unknowns of course, but one thing is certain; those cities and towns that implement their IoT initiatives on an ecosystem using open standards are far more likely to succeed and grow than those who do not. More information: wi-sun.org The Wi-SUN Alliance works to promote standards- based interoperable wireless communication products for Smart Ubiquitous Networks, Smart Cities and IoT applications. Since 19 97, Phil Beecher, chairman, Wi-SUN Alliance, has played a key role in the development of communications standards including Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, IETF, IEEE and cellular.