Case Study /

Catalysts accelerate progress for Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) is going to transform many aspects of our daily lives and just about every industry sector you can think of. Estimates of how many devices will be connected vary between 20 billion and 50 billion by 2020, creating a global market worth as much as $7.3 trillion, according to a report published by IDC1 in 2014. Certainly machine-to-machine communications will dwarf the person-to-person communications market we know today, even if the time frame is uncertain.

There are also many uncertainties about how it will work, because so much will involve entirely new ways of doing things. For this reason, IoT is a key element of TM Forum’s Open Digital Program, which is working with other standards bodies, industry groups, and key stakeholders on aspects of IoT which will be fundamental to its scalability, sustainability and profitability.

They include:

  • Partnerships to deliver complex scalable solutions.
  • Security and privacy – complex services are only as secure as the weakest link, and privacy is a key consideration, including winning acceptance of services from customers and ranging from the deployment of smart meters to digital health services.
  • Standardization is needed to scale effectively, hence IoT cross-industry initiatives must integrate vertical industry standards and create new ones for cross industry applications.
  • Innovation apps for cross-industry applications demand a robust approach to managing the innovation cycle at enterprise-to-enterprise level.
  • Big data and analytics will be essential to deal with billions of data-generating devices. We will need a common, cross-industry language, architecture and management best practices to exploit the value of the data.

The Forum’s Catalyst program is a cornerstone of our IoT efforts. As its name suggests, the program is designed to speed up progress by bringing dynamic teams together to address specific business issues. The companies work closely together on projects lasting from three to six months, culminating in live demonstrations at TM Forum’s main events.

The learnings from these projects is typically fed back into the Forum’s Frameworx suite of standards, tools and best practices, to be shared by others and built upon. They act as an external accelerator to complement the R&D efforts of the companies involved.

Here is a whistle-stop tour of some of the IoT Catalyst projects shown at TM Forum Live!, held in Nice in June 2014 (you can access videos  of those demonstrations), and how they are moving to the next stage at the Forum’s Digital Disruption event, held in San Jose, in December 2014, along with some new ventures.

Smart energy: Managing the digital handshake generated a huge amount of interest from utilities from around the globe in Nice, using TM Forum application program interfaces (APIs) and Frameworx concepts to showcase end-to-end flows across energy and utilities management scenarios, such as a response to a major outage due to a natural disaster. Its champions were BC Hydro, BT, Cisco Systems, Hydro-Quebec and Salzburg AG.

It was supported by Ericsson, with participants from BaseN, ESRI, Infonova, Integrated Architectures (IAI) and TOA Technologies. The next phase, at San Jose, is Smart energy: Realizing the digital handshake.  It draws on the work demonstrated at Nice, and furthers it, using TM Forum’s APIs and Frameworx concepts, but also maps utility operations to Frameworx. An important addition is overall system security aspects for each use case.

Anders Viden, VP of Product Management, BaseN, leads the Forum’s work with utilities and he comments,

“This fits in with the general approach of building on previous work, with more and richer use cases. We can add to them as lessons are learned, as it becomes apparent which areas need to be explored further.”

He continues,

“One important addition in the smart energy Catalyst at Digital Disruption is the managed use case. We can show scripts, integrated screens and portals, and a demonstration regarding fast disaster recovery with smart meters. It enables the quick detection and identification of which stuff needs to be repaired, replaced or reconfigured.”

This Catalyst is championed by BC Hydro, Birmingham City University, Hydro-Quebec and Salzburg AG. It is supported by Ericsson, which is also a participant, along with BaseN, ESRI, Integrated Architectures (IAI) and Infonova.

This will be progressed at TM Forum Live! 2015, again in Nice, and more proactive elements will be added. As Viden explains,

“We can already identify the weak spots, even when things are running fine, but can also be aware, for example, that equipment is sited next to a gas station and hence there is a fire risk. This will add a lot of value for all parties.”

San Jose welcomes a new Catalyst project, Smart city: Empowering governments to build, in which the team examines the needs of a city and identifies which standardized processes from Frameworx can be used to create smart city solutions. Brazil’s first smart city, Aguas de Sao Pedro, will act as the test environment. It takes an holistic approach, combining digital health, smart energy and transportation.

The demonstration showcases the early stages of this real-life and some early mapping to Frameworx, part of a wider project to explore how IoT should relate to Frameworx.

Washington Tavares, Marketing Manager, ISPM, is leading this work and the company is participating in the Catalyst, alongside BAE Systems Applied Intelligence and ESRI. It is championed by China Unicom, Telefónica and Verizon, and supported by BaseN.

Digital health: Curing the complexity, demonstrated at Nice in 2014, took best practices from the communications industry in areas such as service activation, deployment and assurance, and applied them to digital health service management.

The converged view across the partners was enabled by a toolkit based on Frameworx to accelerate integration of these sectors. It was championed by Deutsche Telekom and Orange with BaseN, Birmingham City University, Cisco Systems, Detecon, Ericsson and ISPM and TOA Technologies participating.

In San Jose, the project is being taken forward as eHealth: Bridging the divide. It is led by Elaine Haher, Director Business Development, Ericsson, and moves the project forward, demonstrating use cases for the application of TM Forum concepts in this important field, extending past work to enable the bridging of the divide between the healthcare and communications sectors, with particular focus on interoperability.

It is championed by Orange and Verizon, with BaseN, Cisco Systems and Ericsson participating. If you would like to know more to take part in IoT, or any other Catalyst programs please contact Jean-Pierre Dufresne, Catalyst Program Manager.

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