An increasing number of everyday machines and objects are now embedded with sensors or actuators and have the ability to communicate over the Internet. Collectively they make up the Internet of Things (IoT).

Individual devices are connected through Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communications interfaces.

Potential applications and services in the IoT include:

  • smart devices
  • smart cities
  • smart grids
  • the connected car
  • eHealth
  • home automation and energy management
  • remote industrial process control

Standardizing the IoT

Smart objects produce large volumes of data. This data needs to be managed, processed, transferred and stored securely.

The use of standards

  • ensures interoperable and cost-effective solutions
  • opens up opportunities in new areas
  • allows the market to reach its full potential

The more things are connected, the greater the security risk. So security standards are also needed to protect the individuals, businesses and governments which will use the IoT.

Our Role & Activities

A wide range of technologies work together to connect things in the Internet of Things (IoT). ETSI is involved in standardizing many of these technologies:

Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communications

  • ETSI is a member of oneM2M, the global partnership initiative which aims to provide a standardized M2M interface. This will enable different devices to be connected in the IoT, irrespective of the underlying network.
  • The work of oneM2M builds on the activities of our own committee, TC SmartM2M, which has developed, and now maintains, our specifications for a standardized platform:

TC SmartM2M is also addressing IoT standardization gaps identified in European Commission Large Scale Pilot projects.

Applications in the IoT

Within ETSI we are addressing various applications of M2M technology:

  • Smart appliances
  • Smart metering
  • Smart cities – including networking, energy efficiency and accessibility
  • Smart grids
  • eHealth
  • Intelligent Transport Systems – including telematics and all types of communications in vehicles, between vehicles and between vehicles and fixed locations. We also address the use of Information and Communications Technologies for rail, water and air transport, including navigation systems.
  • Wireless Industrial Automation – standards for radio equipment to be used in factories.

Supporting the IoT

  • Security for the IoT – various aspects of security such as electronic signatures, lawful interception, security algorithms and smart cards as well as cyber security
  • Low power supplies in the IoT:
  • Radio spectrum requirements – helping to find the necessary radio spectrum for connecting things wirelessly in the IoT.
  • Embedded communications modules – We have developed a baseline specification using Surface Mount Technology. This will simplify the integration of modules from different manufacturers in a wide range of M2M applications.

Context Information Management

Our Industry Specification Group on cross-sector Context Information Management (ISG CIM) develops group specifications and reports to enable multiple organizations to develop interoperable software implementations of a cross-cutting Context Information Management (CIM) layer, for smart cities applications and beyond.

The group specifies protocols running ‘on top’ of IoT platforms and allowing exchange of data together with its context, this includes what is described by the data, what was measured, when, where, by what, the time of validity, ownership, and others. This will dramatically extend the interoperability of applications, helping smart cities to integrate their existing services and enable new third-party services.

ISG CIM focuses on developing specifications for a common context information management API, data publication platforms and standard data models. The group works closely with the ETSI SmartM2M technical committee and with oneM2M, the global standards initiative for M2M and the IoT (Internet of Things) of which ETSI is a founding member, since the IoT is one of the sources of context data for smart applications.

The work of ISG CIM is done in a phased manner. The initial phase, purely informative, resulting in an ISG CIM Group Report (GR), followed by a second normative phase resulting in several ISG CIM Group Specifications (GS). Throughout both phases relevant organizations are considered as appropriate in order to avoid duplication of work.


A full list of related standards in the public domain is accessible via the ETSI standards search.