Technical Committee (TC) Smart Body Area Network (SmartBAN) Activity Report 2019

Chair: John Farserotu, CSEM

Responsible for standardization to support the development and implementation of Smart Body Area Network (BAN) technologies (Wireless BAN, Personal BAN, Personal Networks, etc.) in health, wellness, leisure, sport and other domains.

The use of wearables and body sensor devices is growing rapidly in the Internet of Things (IoT). At the same time, the emerging field of digital health represents a convergence of digital technologies and health. Wireless Body Area Networks (BAN) facilitate the sharing of data, interaction and interoperability in environments such as smart homes, living environments, automotive and aerospace.

In the specific areas of medical and health monitoring, equipment and systems are moving towards the trend of wireless connectivity between the data collection or control centre and the medical devices or sensing nodes. Therefore, the need for a standardized communication interface and protocols between actors is required. This network of actors performing some medical monitoring or other functions is referred to as a Smart Body Area Network (SmartBAN).

Key challenges include interoperability in heterogeneous use cases, power consumption, latency, security, robust operation and the ability to interact with embedded intelligence in smart environments.

In response to these and other requirements, our Smart BAN committee (TC SmartBAN) addresses the need for global standards to support the successful market roll-out of BAN technology. Working in co-operation with ETSI’s Smart Machine-to-Machine communications committee (TC SmartM2M), the primary 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 (Wireless BAN, Personal BAN, Personal Networks etc) in health, wellness, leisure, sport and other relevant domains.

TC SmartBAN's scope includes communication media, and associated physical layer, network layer, security, QoS and lawful intercept, as well as provision for standardization of generic applications and services.

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.

In 2019 work continued on various technical specifications and reports. Several new work items were also approved, variously targeting use cases, specific SmartBAN functionalities and access technologies.

Work progressed on a Technical Specification (TS) detailing associate service model/ontology/enablers extensions for SmartBAN semantic interoperability.

In April we published a Technical Specification [TS 103 327] “Service and application standardized enablers and interfaces, APIs and infrastructure for interoperability management”. This offers a high-level description of infrastructure and mechanisms providing solutions for heterogeneity management in Smart BANs. The report primarily covers the networking level up to the service and application level. The solutions mainly concern the description and the specification of a standardized infrastructure for Smart BAN entities (e.g. sensors, actuators) interactions, data access and monitoring, irrespective of whatever lower layers and radio technologies are used underneath. On the service and application side, the document also addresses standardized APIs for secure interaction and access to SmartBAN data/entities (including data transfer and sharing mechanisms).

We continued to develop a TR presenting a comparative analysis between SmartBAN and other short-range standards.

An early draft of our system level description and requirements was enhanced with the addition of support combinations in the PHY (Physical) and MAC (Medium Access Control) layers, setup procedure and capability exchange.

In the field of wireless medical devices, work progressed on a TR that evaluates ultra-low power, ultra-wide band technology (UWB) for a swallowable pill-type camera operating in the 3,1 - 10,6 GHz frequency band.

The first draft of a further TR assesses the state of the art, use cases and requirements analysis for SmartBAN security, privacy, trust and threats.

In May a new Work Item was adopted, covering the design, specification, implementation, qualification and validation of the Data Scanner Agent dedicated for a SmartBAN low power and low energy device that implements SmartBAN PHY and MAC layer standards.

In March a further WI was proposed to identify the requirements and main functionalities of the SmartBAN Coordinator, including the specification and formalization of the initial building blocks for the SmartBAN Coordinator.

Launched as a new WI in February, a TR focusing on exploitation of the reference SmartBAN MAC will provide detailed requirements for various use-cases, together with the corresponding execution and optimizations in SmartBAN MAC.

During the year TC SmartBAN continued to interact with external bodies including:

  • AIOTI (The Alliance for Internet of Things Innovation)
  • IEC SyC AAL (TC SmartBAN Vice-Chairman acts as liaison to IEC systems committee on active assisted living)
  • Bluetooth Special Interest Group (BT SIG)
  • H2020 ACTIVAGE (Active & Healthy Ageing IoT based solutions and services)

Look out for in 2020 - TC SmartBAN work in progress

  • Technical Specification (TS) on system level description and requirements
  • Revision to TS on low complexity MAC and routing
  • Revision to TS on associate service model/ontology/enablers extensions
  • Revision to TS on Enhanced Ultra-Low Power Physical Layer
  • Technical Report (TR) on implant communications – evaluation of ultra-low power, ultra-wide band technology (UWB) for swallowable, pill-type camera wireless medical devices operating in the 3,1 - 10,6 GHz band
  • TR on security, privacy and trust – addressing use cases and requirements analysis
  • TR on applying SmartBAN MAC (Medium Access Control) for various use cases
  • TR on comparative analysis between SmartBAN and other short-range standards