The Internet of Things and the Connected Vehicle

By Bill Ash, Strategic Technology Program Director, IEEE Standards Association

We have all heard claims that in the near future there will be at least 50 billion connected devices. These devices will exchange data in some form or another, whether it’s via wired or wireless technology, or whether it’s autonomously or intelligently sent.

We have also heard many definitions of what the Internet of Things (IoT) is, from data exchange between two devices to many devices connected to an enterprise-wide IT network. In many instances, smart grid, smart cities, eHealth, cloud computing, and the connected vehicle are all examples of IoT.

We are seeing more deployments of renewable energy systems to meet the growing demand of energy consumption and the reduction of carbon emissions. With these larger deployments and higher penetration of renewables comes the demand for better communication and control systems to maintain a stable environment for providing energy.

In the same regard, there has also been an increase in the deployment of electric vehicles (EV), both fully electric and plug-in hybrids. There are continuing discussions around the charging of these vehicles, the power grid infrastructure, and the use of these vehicles as a means to feed back into the power grid as a generation source. In consideration of larger deployments of these vehicles and their use, similar to the renewables, a need for better communications and control systems is evident.

If we look at the technology being used to connect a device to an information network, or purely to another device, we also need to look at what technologies have survived the test of time. We should consider how the adapting of existing technologies with the integration of the next generation of technologies will coexist and interoperate, especially giving how massive IoT will be.

A prime example of this is IEEE 2030.5™, IEEE Adoption of Smart Energy Profile 2.0 Application Protocol Standard. The standard does not create anything new by means of new technology, but uses technology that has survived the test of time for the integration of new applications and technology. During the creation of IEEE 2030.5, the Working Group wanted to be link layer agnostic, allow for internetworking, and to take advantage of other consumer technology already available such as smart phones, tablets, and other connected consumer devices.

Three main components were leveraged to achieve this goal. The first was deciding on the use of internet protocol (IP). The use of IP allowed for the mixing of various link layer technologies (wired or wireless) and is used by many connected consumer devices and routers to ease convergence and architecture changes. This allows for smart phones to use IEEE wireless area network (IEEE 802.11™) to speak to both a smart meter using low data rate wireless smart metering (IEEE 802.15.4g™) and a connected charging vehicle using PLC (IEEE 1901™).

The second component was the use of the web protocol HTTP. This has a large ecosystem of users and developers, which lends itself to a strong knowledge base and ease of implementation and adaptations. This lowers the likelihood of existing technology being left behind as new technology is developed and deployed.

The last component was the use of TLS 1.2 (HTTPS). Using TLS1.2 allowed for end to end security to be facilitated. In addition, it has a proven record from use in the banking industry.

So what does this all mean? Because IEEE 2030.5 leveraged existing standardized technology, the application for energy management for EV/PHEV, homes, and renewable energy systems becomes a lot less onerous and the application and use by other control systems environments becomes possible. And although the term IoT was not around during the initial development of IEEE 2030.5, the applicability to IoT and its verticals, like the connected vehicle, are clear.

While no one has a crystal ball, we can use lessons learned and experience gained from the past to move into the future. As we experience the evolution of IoT and its verticals, like connected vehicles, leveraging existing time-tested technology for the application of new technology can ease the implementation and adaption into new markets.

What are your thoughts and ideas on the intersections between IoT and other time-tested technologies? Please share your thoughts with me in the comments below.

Riding the (driverless) highway to the future

By Jay Iorio, Innovation Director, IEEE Standards Association

A vector illustration of futuristic city transportation
As a host of technologies converge in the home and workplace, it is anybody’s guess how they might play out over the next decades. The Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, body computing, artificial intelligence, and synthetic sensory enhancements (e.g., augmented reality, virtual reality) will serve to make our homes and personal spaces intelligent in meaningful ways―responsive, adaptive, able to learn, interactive, predictive. Our spaces will become extensions of ourselves.

Similarly, many of the same transformative technologies are allowing the public space to be re-imagined. Much of what is called IoT is starting to transform city streets, public buildings, and ultimately everyplace else into a smart environment that could learn to respond as an extension of its inhabitants.

Many of these technologies could help eliminate considerations of geography and physical distance, and over time, digital interactions will no doubt evolve to become indistinguishable from actual physical presence―a kind of telepresence singularity, after which the simulated will increasingly dominate the physical.

That said, however, people will always need to travel from one place to another in the physical world. Big-city freeways and airports will always be crowded, no matter how widespread and superior virtual reality conferencing becomes or how thoroughly day-to-day activities become largely replaced with digitally supercharged facsimiles.

A plausible vision of the next generation might include a coherently “smart” built environment―from the home, to the workplace, to the supermarket―connected so that the overall effect might be something like having a ubiquitous personal assistant.

But there’s one piece missing in this scenario: how do we travel―physically―through this smart environment? How do we get from an intelligent home, to an intelligent office space, to an intelligent department store…intelligently?

As it turns out, the same technologies that are digitally transforming the physical world are causing a similar revolution in the automotive world, in the form of the autonomous vehicle. Autonomous vehicles might take the form of self-driving cars that look a lot like an average car today or eventually they could become something entirely different― perhaps some private-vehicle/mass-transit hybrid that uses existing infrastructure as a basis for new modes of high-speed urban travel, like a train system with individually controllable cars.

The autonomous vehicle would be conceived as part of a larger system that could include not only the road infrastructure and other vehicles but also all the intelligent structures and objects along the route. In a sense, the vehicle would become a moving piece of a much bigger machine, like an elevator in a skyscraper. The car would become a mobile piece of one’s home.

In fact, it might make no more sense to own a vehicle that it would to own a train car on the subway. Transportation would be easily available―safe, private, and quick―and it would require less engagement than riding a moving sidewalk. Car transportation might become a service paid for monthly like a gas bill. Watching a movie, writing messages, or having a conversation or meeting could continue as a chunk of the house basically broke off and took passengers where they needed to go, carrying with it the home’s accumulated intelligence and knowledge about those aboard.

Removing the driver from the equation and putting intelligent systems in charge could radically alter how efficiently, safely, and pleasantly people could move through an urban space. From the passenger’s point of view, a trip across town would be like a long elevator ride; activities could continue en route. A vehicle might be more like a tiny apartment than a 2015 car, optimized for creating a seamless path between intelligent physical spaces.

Given the centrality of the car in modern life, and given the ongoing technology convergence that is digitally enhancing our physical environment, it makes sense that the automobile’s function would be transformed into what amounts to a mobile piece of infrastructure that integrates the home with the rest of the world.

Tomorrow’s vehicle isn’t the flying car, our most enduring retro symbol of the future that promises a superhuman freedom of movement merely suggested by terrestrial vehicles. Rather, the future envisioned today is the connected car, a piece of the common infrastructure that eliminates drudgery, accidents, and wasted time.

These contrasting visions of the future reveal something about the eras that generated them. The flying-car vision casts technology as the enabler of spectacular individual liberation, while more modern visions of the future involve networking, intelligence, and automation, a holistic path that promises to integrate the transportation infrastructure with our homes, our larger environments, our bodies, and our unique, individual constellations of data and content.

Please let us know what you think the future holds for vehicles and how technology will impact our daily lives.

Augmented Reality and its Impact on the Internet, Security, and Privacy

By Mary Lynne Nielsen, Global Operations and Outreach Program Director, IEEE Standards Association

Recently, I had the opportunity to lead networking sessions at Augmented World Expo (AWE) 2015. I interacted with conference attendees to explore the challenges and opportunities facing the evolution of the Internet. Now in its sixth year, AWE is dedicated to exploring technology that turns ordinary experiences into the extraordinary and empowers people to be better at anything they do in work and life. Nearly 3000 people from the augmented and virtual reality, wearable tech, and Internet of Things spaces attended this year’s event.

Technologies like Augmented Reality (AR) intersect with the Internet not only from a usage standpoint, but also from a delivery and information-gathering perspective. Mobile AR technology is poised to explode into the mainstream, with an expected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 96% over the next five years. Blending online and offline personal data, AR has enormous potential to enhance a wide spectrum of human activities, including economic, cultural and social (such as blending social media live streams into AR experiences). But AR also has the potential to compromise a spectrum of human values. It raises privacy and security concerns that are similar to other technologies. AR’s capacity for “constant” recording of data (potentially everything a user is doing), in addition to its ability to overlay information on top of physical reality, raises interesting and unique issues that go beyond current issues of privacy, free speech, and discrimination.

At AWE 2015, IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA) held two networking sessions to explore and discuss these impacts and how to address them so AR can realize its full potential. It was wonderful to see the interest and engagement in this subject. Several attendees admitted that they hadn’t really fully considered the policy implications of AR, but that they would be keeping that in mind as they moved forward in their advancements in this field. Others were excited to hear about IEEE’s goal of bringing technologists closer together with policy makers to reduce the gap between technology and policy, especially as technology progresses and emerging technologies enter our lives.

Of particular interest were the topics of cybersecurity and privacy. Those who joined us at the networking sessions concurred that security needed to be a major factor for AR, while privacy could be challenged by users who openly share personal information in order to gain ease of use or maximum convenience of a product or service. Participants also supported transparency as a major aim in the privacy area. While we were not able to come up with answers immediately, IEEE-SA is committed to continuing the dialogue as we engage those working in emerging technology spaces in IEEE initiatives.

AR is just one of the proliferation of technologies that are increasingly intersecting with the Internet. The IEEE Internet Initiative will continue to reach out to those technologies to garner their input on the evolving question of Internet governance and the related areas of privacy and security.

And I’d also like to reach out to you for your thoughts and ideas on the intersections between AR and the Internet, cybersecurity, and privacy. Please feel free to share your thoughts with me in the comments below.

EuroDIG 2015 Highlights

By Justin Caso, J.D., Technology Policy and International Affairs Advisor, IEEE Standards Association

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On 5-6 June 2015, the European Dialogue on Internet Governance (EuroDIG) held its annual meeting in Sofia, Bulgaria.  The event was preceded by the inaugural South Eastern Europe Dialogue on Internet Governance (SEEDIG) on 4 June 2015.  The event consisted of high level keynote speeches, panel sessions and various other sessions of varying formats to discuss topics related to Internet Governance.  Multiple stakeholder groups, including a significant youth representation, participated in the event.

EuroDIG is designed to serve two main purposes.  First, the event provided a venue to discuss and exchange views and best practices in preparation for the global Internet Governance Forum, which will be held from 10-13 November 2015 in João Pessoa, Brazil.  The second purpose is to raise awareness among European stakeholders about the importance of Internet Governance issues.

The EuroDIG 2015 program was developed from a bottom up, multistakeholder approach in order to ensure that all stakeholders were afforded the opportunity to voice their thoughts and concerns on a wide range of topics related to Internet Governance.  Some of the major topics of discussion included data protection and cybersecurity.

IEEE participated in this event by leading the development of the second Plenary session, Privacy and data protection in the emerging world of big data and new services.  The organizing team, including the panel participants, developed the session in collaborative manner.  The session discussed the intersection of Internet Governance in the context of big data and the Internet of Things with a focus on privacy and human rights.  In addition, IEEE worked with the organizers for Workshop 1.  Additionally, there were several Internet Governance sessions that discussed the modalities of how to engage those who are not currently active in the Internet Governance discussion.

A particularly entertaining and interactive session titled Data protection and privacy in an era of outstanding digitization took place on 6 June as a follow up to the morning session on the same topic.  This session was led by Maarten Botterman and featured extensive audience participation on this topic.  The session epitomized the EuroDIG vision of allowing a voice for all in these discussions.

The SEEDIG event on 4 June 2015 facilitated an open and inclusive discussion in an informal setting to discuss Internet Governance issues that are relevant to the South Eastern Europe region.  The sessions focused on the multistakeholder Internet Governance models on a national level, the confluence of human rights in regards to theoretical approaches and realities in the South Eastern Europe region, and the domain name space in the region.

EuroDIG 2016 will be held in Brussels, Belgium on 9-10 June 2016.

Don’t wait to get involved.  For information on how to join the IEEE Internet Initiative’s growing world-wide community of experts in technology and policy making, visit internetinitiative.ieee.org.

Seeing the Road Forward for Smart Glasses

By Rudi Schubert, Director, New Initiatives, IEEE Standards Association

Rudi Schubert at AWE 2015Augmented World Expo (AWE) took place the week of June 8 in Santa Clara, California, providing a glimpse into the future of developing technologies ranging across augmented reality, virtual reality, and wearable devices. This industry segment is rapidly growing in public visibility, with products evolving and early devices becoming available to the consumer and industrial market. However, while activity has been accelerating, there are hurdles yet to overcome in bringing these technologies to broad acceptance and adoption in the market.

The IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA) co-hosted a workshop at AWE that focused on the development of a technology roadmap for smart glasses. This workshop was designed to be a starting point to bring together stakeholders for an ongoing collaboration in identifying barriers to adoption, proposing solutions, and launching action plans to address these issues. Nearly 40 attendees engaged in a highly interactive discussion organized into four breakout groups to consider the use of smart glasses in a number of market segments. These groups focused on: mass consumer markets, industrial markets, military/first responder markets, and professional services markets (e.g., medical applications). The workshop’s stimulating discussion concluded with each group reporting on their findings to the full set of participants.

Interestingly, needs and expectations to achieve pervasive adoption were varied depending on industry segments. Consumer interests centered around convenience and cost; industry interests included return on investment and integration with legacy systems; and military/first responders highlighted rugged devices as a key need.  Many supporting details and more specific issues were documented and will be used in framing a white paper detailing these identified needs and offering recommendations on a roadmap towards satisfying the expectations within each of these market segments.

Participants from the workshop will be engaging in further teleconferences in the coming months to build out these issues and plan to reconvene later in the year where they will work towards completion of the roadmap and establish additional initiatives that can develop the solutions that will enable acceleration of wearable smart glass technologies and broad market acceptance.

View other sessions IEEE-SA participated in at AWE 2015.

Learn what IEEE-SA is doing in AR.

The Network, the Body, and the Future

By Jay Iorio, Innovation Director, IEEE Standards Association

Networking is, in a sense, the key metaphor for the modern age. It is the development of tools that enhance existing human activities in ways that would be impossible in the physical world. The network is really the virtual remapping of our lives, lives that pivot around interaction and collaboration. It started with the telephone.

The personal computer, a revolution in itself, really came into its own when it was connected in large numbers over networks. Even in its early, comparatively slow form, connecting to the Internet was compelling enough to draw new participants every day. Bulletin-board systems, ftp sites, and email seem basic or charmingly old-school today, but they opened up a whole new way of thinking of a computer as merely part of a larger whole.

As network bandwidth approaches the bandwidth within the computer itself, the distinction between computer and network in effect evaporates and turns the entire collection of networked computers into one big device. We are seeing hints of this today in the form of the cloud and new collaborative tools and modes. The cloud concept potentially turns cyberspace into one large virtual machine, where users don’t care about the specific location of code, data, or other resources, any more than they care about what their phone is doing internally.

As wireless networking was quickly incorporated into phones, the definition of a computer expanded to include mobile devices, which for many users now constitute their primary computer, and the number of connected devices exploded.

We are now poised for another revolution in which the connection goes well beyond connecting only computing devices and begins to include sensors, everyday objects, and the built environment. Much of what we have traditionally considered to be inert and distinctly non-electronic is becoming a part of this mega-network—a phenomenon currently referred to as the Internet of Things.

The current term for networkable objects with built-in electronics is “smart,” implying vaguely human characteristics of responsiveness to stimuli, at least the appearance of basic decision-making, and adaptability to the environment. In a sense, objects come alive as they are “wired” (wirelessly, no doubt) into the larger environment.

It is hard to predict how such a network might evolve over the decades, but it is hard not to imagine a physical environment that senses us, our needs, and our context and then evolves continuously in harmony with that profile. What we currently call Augmented Reality—the integration, from the individual’s point of view, of computer-generated sensory content with the physical world—could evolve to be the “display” for this new environment, an environment that would appear to the user as the physical world with which we are all familiar, yet enhanced with powerful, customized illusion.

As powerful as this promises to be, however, the picture will only be complete when the physical human body is connected to this internet of everything.

We are already seeing mass-market products that connect the human body to the outside world; even more importantly, the public mind seems to be acclimating to this coming reality. In an important way, the smartphone is really a wearable—you might leave your eyeglasses in the other room, but rarely your phone—and the general public has now experienced a decade of having their networked computer almost attached to them.

The conceptual leap from the smartphone to smart watches, biometric devices of all kinds, sensors, smart fabrics, and wearables in general is not that great, and the myriad potential health, medical, and fitness use cases do not require a futurist to imagine. This could be a change in medicine and health as radical as the development of antibiotics.

It will allow for continuous monitoring of medical conditions, ongoing communication with healthcare providers, and the greatly enhanced diagnostics that might derive from such ongoing monitoring, especially when correlated to patient behavior. The natural first step in this direction is wearable devices, and new ones are appearing every week.

But the collective imagination has always been fascinated by the possibility of actual human augmentation. The cyborg concept in various forms is perennial in popular culture, and it is natural for us to want to develop tools to help overcome our inherent physical limitations and let our brains do what our bodies can’t. In a sense, the entire superhero genre of entertainment is a collective, symbolic attempt to envision ourselves without the physical restrictions we have to live with.

Body hacking, direct-to-brain communication, implants for a whole variety of purposes, smart tattoos, and clothing that interacts with the body are all subjects of intense work today, and it’s not hard to imagine a near-future generation that sees implants with much the same nonchalance as today’s twenty-somethings see extreme tattoos. It is not far-fetched to imagine a generation from now when the human body is actually itself a part of the computing environment, with all that such a link implies in a liquid, cloud-structured network.

All this might sound like science fiction, but it is happening. Each of the constituent technologies is overflowing with innovation and creativity, which can turn sci-fi fantasy into Best Buy product in a remarkably short time—witness the burgeoning virtual-reality space, a technology that as recently as two years ago was commonly seen as perpetually fifteen years in the future.

Within a very short time, areas we currently call Augmented Reality, Internet of Things, smart spaces, robotics, artificial intelligence, and all kinds of medical devices could coalesce in such a way that all the terminology, wires, and computers seem to disappear and leave us simply with multiple channels of instantaneous, complex communication between our bodies and the rest of the world.

For more information on AR visit standards.ieee.org/innovate/ar.

WSIS Forum 2015 Highlights

By Karen McCabe, Senior Director, Technology Policy and International Affairs


From 25-29 May, the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) Forum 2015 took place. The week was filled with panel sessions, high-level discussions and high-level statements from high-ranking officials representing governments, the private sector, civil society and international organizations. The sessions and discussions of the week supported the WSIS Forum 2015 theme of Innovating Together: Enabling ICTs for Sustainable Development.

The week started off with a series of parallel thematic workshops hosted by a range of global stakeholders, including Cybersecurity and Privacy in a World of Data Driven Innovation hosted by IEEE. Discussions centered on information and communications technology (ICT) and its growth and impact in an increasingly hyper-connected world, focusing on progress that has been made on implementation of WSIS Outcomes and discussing the current challenges and challenges that may lie ahead as technology advances at tremendous speed.

In the various panels and discussions, multi-stakeholder collaboration across borders and among industries and communities was stressed. Throughout the conference the topic of Internet of Things (IoT) in the context of being a significant driver in revolutionizing the Internet was in the forefront. During a session organized by Japan, Japanese business representatives shared their experience with developing IoT and practical related e-applications. Tetsuo Nakakawaji from Mitsubishi Electric Corporation noted that he believes we are not yet in an IoT era, since for this to happen technologies need to be further developed, especially in relation to security and stable Internet networks.

Cybersecurity was also a significant part of the dialogue during the WSIS 2015 Forum, with several sessions organized on the topic. In the Building Trust in Cyberspace: Working Together session, Houlin Zhao, Secretary-General of ITU, noted that despite the tremendous opportunity, ICT comes with equally tremendous challenges in terms of trust and confidence. In his statements, he noted that this [trust and confidence] can only be achieved when different stakeholders work in cooperation and not in isolation. Uri Rosenthal, former Dutch foreign minister and special envoy of the Global Conference on Cyberspace 2015, promoted awareness-raising activities on the proper use of ICTs and the Internet, as users share the responsibility in using the Internet appropriately.

Through the series of policy statements, the need for multi-stakeholder model of cooperation to bridge the digital gap, particularly to connect rural areas, was stressed. Other themes included the need for affordable access to ICTs, the encouragement for innovation, the inclusivity of the Internet and the applicability of ICTs in cybersecurity.

In general, throughout the week there was advocacy for increased inclusion of ICTs in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs are a universal set of goals, targets and indications that UN member states are expected to use to frame their agendas and policies over the next 15 years. The current set of SDGs are due to expire the end of this year, and this September UN members states will meet to review and set SDGs that will become applicable from January 2016, with an expected deadline for the new SDGs in 2030.

At the WSIS 2015 Forum there was an emphasis on linking the WSIS process with sustainable development. The UN overall WSIS+10 review initiates in June. The WSIS+10 Process marks the ten-year milestone since the WSIS, two-phase summit (2003-2005) that defined the issues, policies and frameworks to address ICTs to foster development. The meeting in June will lead to the UN General Assembly decision in December 2015 that will set the course for WSIS beyond 2015.

For information on how to join the IEEE Internet Initiative’s growing world-wide community of experts in technology and policy making, visit internetinitiative.ieee.org.

Additional Resources
To showcase the impact of ICTs for sustainable development, a document that maps the WSIS Action Lines with the proposed UN Sustainable Goals was issued during the conference. This document draws direct linkages of the WSIS Action Lines with the proposed SDGs to continue strengthening the impact of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for sustainable development. To access the details of the WSIS 2015 Forum, please refer to the WSIS 2015 Forum Outcome Document.