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An IoT management platform fit for the Internet of Moving Things

The Sustainable and autonomous IoT ecosystems Catalyst is developing an IoT management platform that can meet the needs of connected vehicles and devices as they move from place to place

Alasdair Riggs
14 Jun 2024
An IoT management platform fit for the Internet of Moving Things

An IoT management platform fit for the Internet of Moving Things

Commercial context

Some of the most important and numerous components of the IoT are devices that move around such as cars, robots, drones, autonomous vehicles and wearables. But dynamic IoT deployments introduce a fluidity that makes IoT management more challenging: there are implications for the way in which IoT services are discovered and provisioned, service continuity (as IoT assets move between edge nodes) and meeting service requirements in terms of latency and performance.

For optimal performance across the ‘Internet of Moving Things’ (IoMT), IoT management platforms must be able to deliver continuous real-time control as the connected device moves from place to place, especially for mission- and business-critical services: each time the IoT device changes location it requires a handover of coverage and control to a new edge node. It is also important to optimize the discovery, negotiation and service provisioning capability between ‘things’ and the edge/cloud to ensure IoT deployments are energy-efficient, whilst giving rise to new monetization opportunities for CSPs.

The solution

To support proper development of the IoMT, the Sustainable and autonomous IoT ecosystems Catalyst is looking to harness AI and machine learning, and other forms of automation, as well as intent-based networking and orchestration. Led by BT, the first phase of the Catalyst is building a proof-of-concept (PoC) for the autonomous management of things traversing between edge nodes. The solution will enable a moving thing to discover new IoT services exposed through each edge node, negotiate the best network service to meet the device and service requirements, and orchestrate their provisioning.

For instance, when a drone switches on its camera in-flight, it will negotiate at the edge an uplift in its network connectivity (such as access to a 5G slice) required to support high-quality streaming of video to the edge node. Additionally, the application may also require certain IoT services to be deployed at the edge, such as video analytics and processing software for video anonymization, before it is streamed to the cloud for further use by applications such as digital twins or monitoring tools.

The PoC being developed by the Catalyst will onboard the device to a nearby edge node (using CAMARA APIs), prep the edge connectivity and infrastructure at the MEC, and deploy the appropriate setting to guarantee service continuity. As the drone changes locations, this setup at the network, edge or cloud has to ‘follow it’ – so the orchestrator sets up the appropriate compute resources on the new edge node, deploys the video anonymization as a container, too, with the same configuration to enable a smooth and uninterrupted handover of the service.

With energy-efficiency in mind, resources previously used at the last edge node are now released. Furthermore, intelligent dashboards and genAI conversational interfaces provide actionable insight into the use of the underlying infrastructure which can drive autonomous decision-making for sustainable service delivery.

Applications and wider value

By harnessing TM Forum standards and the IoT architectures of BT’s partners, the Catalyst aims to create a digital underlay for the network and IoT services that can intelligently adapt to the needs of moving devices and their applications. For CSPs, the orchestration of new network and service provisioning could lead to new chargeable events and, therefore, generate new monetizable opportunities.

“We are very interested in extending our current IoT capabilities with these new dynamic concepts,” explains Nektarios Georgalas, Innovation Principal, BT Ireland Innovation Centre (Digital, BT Group). “We have commercial engagements in network-enabled connected and autonomous moving things. For instance, in the autonomous vehicles space we have the government-funded project Harlander, where we deploy autonomous passenger-vehicles in Belfast Harbor, research projects on autonomous vehicles with smart cities such as Milton Keynes, but we also have our Drones Solutions unit in BT Digital.”

By enabling organizations to employ mobile autonomous devices, the Catalyst will support further digital transformation of the economy, and employing intelligent algorithms for IoT device and service management will ensure these deployments are both efficient and sustainable. “Ultimately, we would like to achieve a sustainable Internet of Moving Things, where autonomous decisions and optimizations are triggered to predict and manage the dynamics of ‘moving things’ towards saving energy and lowering carbon footprint,” Georgalas adds.

To learn more about how this initiative will support development of the IoMT, please click here to view the project space on the TM Forum website.

Sustainable and autonomous IOT ecosystems