The Public-Safety Benefits of oneM2M IoT Standards
By Ken Figueredo
Tuesday, April 13, 2021 | Comments
In public safety and emergency situations, there are different priorities for people and connected things to communicate with each other and to trigger actions accordingly. This is a complex technical and operational challenge, partly because the scope of connected sensors, automated plant and information display devices varies widely, leading to a large number of integration points. As a result, many public-safety systems focus on single-purpose solutions, missing opportunities to design for cross-silo and interoperable services.

A further complication is that many different parties, and their respective systems, can be involved. This is true even in simple scenarios. A road traffic incident, for example, might trigger an alert from a traffic flow sensor. Other alerts might come from closed circuit television (CCTV) monitors, from in-vehicle emergency call systems and through social media reports from the traveling public. Each reporting channel belongs to a different service provider. From an organizational perspective, these reports come from systems managed by road transport agencies, vehicle telematics service providers, emergency services and social media platforms.

This scenario points to the need for standardized communications and interactions between internet of things (IoT) applications. These involve many types of endpoint devices, gateways or edge nodes and servers supplied by different developers and manufacturers and operating over multiple communications networks.

A Framework for Distributed Reporting Systems
In 2012, a group of national standardization bodies launched the oneM2M Partnership Project (oneM2M) to establish a standard for end-to-end and interoperable IoT systems. This would avoid regional variations and promote a global IoT market on par with the cellular industry.

The oneM2M standard addresses situations where one or more IoT applications consume data from devices and sensors associated with each application. Some of these are managed via a gateway, or edge-processing device, over a local network. Others involve direct communications between devices and applications through an intermediary platform.

Communications can occur over one or more networks. This might arise where connected devices and gateways operate over wireless networks provided by different network operators. Under such conditions, oneM2M defines a three-layer, horizontal architecture. The lower layer corresponds to devices and communications technologies. The upper layer corresponds to applications that use data from IoT devices and sensors to identify operational trends for decision-making and control interventions. The middleware layer simplifies any-to-any communications in the form of a set of standardized tools for application developers to use.

oneM2M specifies a set of tools that are common to all IoT applications. One example is the registration tool. A developer could use this tool to establish the authorization and authentication relationships between different device, gateway, platform and application entities in an IoT system. Another common service function is security. Here, oneM2M specifications define a common approach for the handling of sensitive data, security administration, establishment of security associations, access control (identification, authentication, and authorization) and identity management.

Systems that adhere to the oneM2M set of technical specifications allow for the easy sharing of data among subsystems operated by different service providers and equipment supplied by different vendors. This is a consequence of developers and service providers designing to a common framework and using standardized tools to link components and their interactions.

Public-Safety oneM2M in Asia Pacific
Drawing on experiences in Korea and Japan, representatives from the Korea Electronics Technology Institute (KETI) launched a oneM2M standardization work item on public warning service enablers. This involved adding support for a public warning information model that contains event types for various severities of emergency situations.

The standardization effort is expected to lead to new subscription and notifications features. A connected device could subscribe to emergency notification messages from different sources, based on emergency events of interest as illustrated. In the example shown in the graphic, the gas valve can selectively subscribe to receive notifications for earthquake warnings only. However, a public warning sign can subscribe to receive notifications for both earthquake warnings and amber alerts. Adherence to oneM2M standards allows different participants in such a system to design and deploy components that interoperate and share data, even as additional warning originators and connected devices are added over time.

oneM2M Enhancements for Emergency Communications
The oneM2M architecture and its services are distributed in nature. They can be deployed quickly at the site of an emergency, hosted on a local device such as an emergency services vehicle. This local deployment can communicate with other devices at the scene and also communicate back to the command center.

oneM2M supports access control mechanisms to ensure access to devices and data is only granted to authorized entities (e.g., police, fire, and rescue teams) based on profile information. oneM2M’s communications management tool supports prioritization and store-and-forward handling of messages. This means that system operators can specify policies so that lower priority messages are buffered and scheduled around higher priority messages while dealing with congestion issues on the underlying communications networks. This is particularly relevant in the case of cellular networks where oneM2M tools can interact with exposed network functions to minimize the potential for operational harms on shared networks and localized points of congestion.

Through the group management tool, oneM2M also supports the capability to manage communicating with groups of devices and individuals such as emergency responders (e.g., the formation, disbandment and fanout of messages to groups). The location tool provides the capability to monitor and track the locations of individuals, via clothing equipped with sensors for instance, as well as devices and report when they enter/exit a particular area.

The subscription and notification tool supports the capability for applications to subscribe to events of interest. This may be based on specified criteria and push notifications if/when these events occur (e.g., “let me know when the power to a particular house has been restored”). It also ensures that applications are not overwhelmed with data and only react to trigger events that are relevant to their public service or emergency function.

oneM2M is the global standards initiative that covers requirements, architecture, application programming interface (API) specifications, security solutions and interoperability for machine-to-machine (M2M) and IoT technologies.

oneM2M was formed in 2012 and consists of eight of the world's preeminent standards development organizations: ARIB (Japan), ATIS (U.S.), CCSA (China), ETSI (Europe), TIA (U.S.), TSDSI (India), TTA (Korea), and TTC (Japan), together with industry fora and consortia (GlobalPlatform) and more than 200 member organizations. oneM2M specifications provide a framework to support applications and services such as the smart grid, connected car, home automation, public safety, and health. oneM2M actively encourages industry associations and forums with specific application requirements to participate in oneM2M, in order to ensure that the solutions developed support their specific needs. Find more information here.

Ken Figueredo focuses on IoT eco-system strategy and standardization initiatives for Convida Wireless, an innovation-focused joint venture between InterDigital and Sony Corporation. He contributes to the oneM2M Partnership Project, the global community that develops IoT standards to enable interoperable, secure and simple-to-deploy IoT systems. Ken's other activities include contributions to the ATIS/US Ignite Smart City Data Exchange initiative and the Industrial Internet Consortium. His prior market-development experience includes advising the GSMA in creating its industry strategy targeting connected living/IoT market opportunities. He is an alumnus of INSEAD and holds an Engineering doctorate in ‘digital-twin’ algorithms for self-adaptive control systems.

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