In 2020, the number of connected devices in the Internet of Things exceeds 20 billion. The IoT is having a transformative influence on the way we live and work in domains including connected vehicles, eHealth, home automation and energy management, public safety and industrial process control, and smart cities.

Standardizing the IoT

Smart objects produce large volumes of data. This data needs to be managed, processed, transferred and stored securely. Standardization is key to achieving universally accepted specifications and protocols for true interoperability between devices and applications.

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.

The last ETSI IoT Week 2019 took place the week of 21-25 October 2019.

You missed the event? Watch the interviews and feedback in our video filmed during the event in our HQs:


Our Role & Activities

The main ETSI IoT standardization activities are conducted at radio layer in 3GPP (LTE-M, NB-IoT and EC-GSM-IoT) and at service layer in oneM2M. 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 one of the founding partners in oneM2M, the global standards initiative that covers requirements, architecture, Application Programming Interface (API) specifications, security solutions and interoperability for M2M and IoT technologies.
  • The work of oneM2M builds on the activities of our own technical 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 now Smart Applications with SAREF (Smart Applications REFerence ontology)
  • 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 cybersecurity
  • 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 for applications – including legacy data from municipal departments – to publish, discover, update and access context information, initially for a broad range of smart city applications and later for other areas such as Smart Agriculture and Smart Manufacturing.

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 (GS CIM 009 "NGSI-LD API") and information model (GS CIM 006) as explained in the ETSI White Paper.

ISG CIM published its pdfETSI White Paper “NGSI-LD API: for Context Information Management” that explains the main concepts behind the NGSI-LD data exchange protocol which aims to make it easier to find and exchange information with open databases, mobile Apps and IoT platforms.

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.

More information can be found in the ISG CIM Activity Report.


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