Technical Committee (TC) Smart Body Area Network (SmartBAN) Activity Report 2021

Chair: John Farserotu, CSEM

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 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 communication 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, robust operation in the presence of radiofrequency interference and the ability to interact with embedded intelligence in smart environments.

A number of wireless BAN communication technologies have been implemented, based on 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, 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 other ETSI committees including TC SmartM2M, ERM TG30 and ERM TGUWB, the primary goals of TC SmartBAN are the development and maintenance of ETSI standards and other deliverables to support the development and implementation of all 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 communication media, and 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 SmartBANs 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), Bluetooth Special Interest Group (BT SIG), H2020 ACTIVAGE (Active & Healthy Ageing IoT based solutions and services) and the ITEA’s CareWare project.

In April 2021 TC SmartBAN published a new Technical Report TR 103 751 on implant communications, evaluating the use of ultra-low power, ultra-wideband technology (UWB) for a swallowable pill-camera, wireless medical device operating in the 3,1 GHz - 10,6 GHz frequency band.

In June the committee issued an update to its existing Technical Report TR 103 395 – originally published in February – on measurements and modelling of the SmartBAN Radio Frequency (RF) environment.

In July the committee published a revision to Technical Specification TS 103 326 on Enhanced Ultra-Low Power Physical Layer, enhancing the SmartBAN PHY specification by introducing more robust synchronization for generic IoT.

During the year work meanwhile progressed on other deliverables including:

  • Technical Specification on relay functionality for SmartBAN Medium Access Control (MAC)
  • Technical Specification on hub-to-hub communication for SmartBAN MAC
  • Technical Specification on SmartBAN system level description and requirements
  • Revision to Technical Specification on Low Complexity MAC
  • Revision to Technical Specification on associate service model/ontology/enablers extensions for SmartBAN semantic interoperability
  • Technical Report on security, privacy, and trust
  • Technical Report on comparative analysis between SmartBAN and other short-range standards (Bluetooth LE and IEEE802.15.6)

See a full list of current TC SmartBAN Work Items here.