Adaptation of M2M solutions can be a slow process. Unclear data protection framework conditions and a lack of cross-industry standards are considered to be some of the reasons. That is why All about M2M discussed M2M standardization with Professor Dr. Axel Sikora, Scientific Director of the Institute of Reliable Embedded Systems and Communication Electronics (ivESK) at the University of Applied Sciences, Offenburg, and Deputy Board Member of the Hahn-Schickard Institute, Villingen-Schwenningen.
Professor Sikora, to what extent would global standards speed up the adaptation of M2M in all areas of life?
At the moment, standards are inhibiting willingness to invest because, in part, they either do not exist or the choice is simply too great. That is why many companies are naturally reluctant and are biding their time to see which standards make the running.
Yet standards are also a prerequisite for horizontal integration of different applications. Practical standards already exist for individual niche areas such as machine monitoring or automatic emergency calls from a connected apartment for elderly people. But if we are talking about M2M solutions in complex scenarios such as a Smart City or a Smart Factory, it is all about horizontal integration of different applications and at present it is really not clear yet which standards will prevail.
Initial approaches to these complex solutions do exist, but many of them are not yet sufficiently detailed. They disregard many aspects, especially network and node management, and are therefore not yet ready for practical use. Worse still, they require extensions that have proprietary components.
You say that in part there are too many and in part too few standards. Where are there too many and where too few?
Actually, every application area has a number of approaches. That goes for home automation just as it does for building automation, for industrial automation as for process automation. Take a closer look at all these areas and you will find a handful or two of standardization approaches in each of them.
Who is responsible for standardization, then?
It is strikingly apparent that state or intergovernmental standardization bodies such as the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), the Verband der Elektrotechnik Elektronik Informationstechnik (VDE) or the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) are less and less involved. Increasingly, the movers are industry alliances or eco-systems that are set up independently. On the one hand that is to be welcomed because these alliances can act much faster than standardization bodies. On the other, that leads to the establishment of groups of this kind no longer being synchronized. In other words, if you mark on a map which bodies are responsible for which areas you will find a lot of overlapping between different bodies but also areas that are white on the map. It is uncoordinated and makes matters even more complicated.