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ITU turns attention to IoT and smart cities


The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has established a new expert group that will explore the standardisation requirements of IoT technologies.

Initially focusing on smart cities, the ITU Telecommunication Standardisation Sector - or ITU-T - Study Group will develop standards for IoT, M2M and sensors that “address urban-development challenges”.

A key focus of the group will be the development of standards for end-to-end IoT architectures, the ITU revealed, as well as those that ensure interoperability between a range of vertical industries.

The group claimed a specialised standardisation platform was necessary in order to establish a set of cohesive, international IoT standards for the estimated 50 billion devices expected on the network by 2020.

Houlin Zhao, ITU Secretary General, said: “Building smart sustainable cities will require efficient collaboration between the public and private sectors. This new ITU-T Study Group will bring together a diverse selection of stakeholders, placing ITU’s technical expertise at the service of other industry sectors as well as the national and metropolitan administrations responsible for urban development.”

The ITU said the project would also enable both developed and developing countries to transform urban infrastructure in order to “bridge the digital divide”, particularly through the development of smart energy and water networks.

[Read more: Turkcell to target smart cities following Gaziantep project]

Chaesub Lee, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Standardisation Bureau, said: “The coming five years will be crucial in ensuring that IoT technologies meet their potential. ITU-T is very active in IoT standardisation, and we aim to assist cities around the world in creating the conditions necessary for IoT technologies to prove their worth in addressing urban-development challenges.”

In May, the ITU established a new focus group that will address 5G standardisation.