Technical Committee (TC) Smart Body Area Network (SmartBAN) Activity Report 2023

Chair: Lorenzo Mucchi, CNIT

Responsible for standardization to support the development and implementation of Smart Body Area Network (BAN) technologies – notably small, low-power wireless devices which can be carried or embedded inside or on the body – in health & wellness monitoring, personal safety, leisure, sports training and other domains.

As the use of wearables and connected in- and on-body sensor devices grows rapidly in the Internet of Things (IoT), Wireless Body Area Networks (BAN) facilitate the sharing of data in environments such as smart homes, living environments, automotive and aerospace.

In specific areas such as digital healthcare/wellness and medical monitoring, personal safety, sports and leisure, wireless connectivity between the data collection or control centre and the medical devices or sensing nodes requires a standardized communications interface and protocols. Key challenges in these use cases include interoperability over heterogeneous networks in the future IoT, ultra-low power consumption for greater autonomy, latency, security, communications in harsh environments (such as implants communications), robust operation in the presence of radiofrequency interference and the ability to interact with embedded intelligence in smart environments.

A number of wireless BAN communications technologies have been implemented based on the existing radio technologies. However, if BAN technology is to achieve its full potential there is a need for more specific, optimized and interoperable solutions.

In response to these and other requirements, ETSI’s Smart BAN committee (TC SmartBAN) addresses the need for global standards to support the successful market roll-out of BAN technology. Co-operating with other ETSI committees - including SmartM2M, CYBER, eHEALTH, ERM TG30 and ERM TGUWB - principal goals of TC SmartBAN are the development and maintenance of ETSI standards and other deliverables to support the development and implementation of Smart BAN technologies (including Wireless BAN, Personal BAN and Personal Networks) in health, wellness, leisure, sport and other relevant domains.

Scope of the committee’s interests includes communications media, associated physical layer, network layer, security, QoS and lawful intercept. This work also extends to the provision of generic applications and services for standardization in the domain of BAN technologies.

TC SmartBAN serves as a focal point for the coordination of ETSI's activities in the health ICT domain. It also represents ETSI external positions on Health ICT-related issues including telemedicine.

Future Smart BANs will exist within an IoT environment. Reflecting this, TC SmartBAN offers contributions to various bodies within ETSI, as well as external bodies, including AIOTI (Alliance for the Internet of Things Innovation), IEC SyC AAL (Active Assisted Living), and the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (BT SIG).

In November 2023 TC SmartBAN published two new deliverables:

  • TS 103 806 is a Technical Specification that extends the SmartBAN MAC (Medium Access Control) – as defined in TS 103 325 – with hub-to-hub communications capability. Its main scope is to define specifications for enabling hub-to-hub communications between neighbouring SmartBANs.
  • TR 103 944 is a Technical Report detailing a Smart Coordinator for SmartBAN Networks that can be used as a ‘bridge’ between a SmartBAN and the surrounding infrastructure. The report discusses and compares different Smart Coordinator implementation options that could be based on single- or multi-radio concept, depending on the final operational environment.

Further SmartBAN Technical Specifications in development during the year include:

  • TS 103 805 extends the SmartBAN MAC (as defined in TS 103 325) with relay capability. Its main scope is to define specifications for relay node functionality enabling two-hop communications within a SmartBAN. A final draft has been submitted for publication, expected by the beginning of 2024.
  • TS 103 710 addresses SmartBAN Data Scanner Agent specification, implementation, and validation. It addresses design, specification, implementation, qualification and validation of the Data Scanner Agent dedicated for SmartBAN low power and low energy device – in particular a device fully implementing SmartBAN PHY and MAC layer standards as specified in ETSI TS 103 326 and TS 103 325.
  • TS 103 888 is an In-body UWB Communications Specification. Developed in collaboration with ETSI ERM TG 17, TG 30 and TG UWB, it focuses on ultra-low power, ultra-wide band (UWB) physical layer (PHY) specifications – such as data rates and modulation – for a swallowable, pill-camera, wireless device operating in the 3.1 – 10.6 GHz frequency band. A mature draft is expected in early 2024.
  • TS 103 887 is a description of SmartBAN Coordinator requirements, main functionalities, and specifications. Additional functionalities include smart control/coordination/management, data concentrator role, data and node/Device interoperability management, security and privacy management.
  • TS 103 378 updates an existing Technical Specification on associate service model/ontology/enablers extensions. The revision extends the previous version with the specification and the formalization of SmartBAN unified service/application level representation formats, semantic open data model and corresponding ontology.

At the beginning of 2023 work also launched on a new Technical Report that offers a description of the Brain Computer Interface (BCI) architecture.

See the full list of TC SmartBAN Work Items currently in development here.