As we witness the Internet of Things (IoT) slowly become the new norm, efforts towards cementing IoT standards by Indian standardisation bodies have been enormous. Sushil Kumar, deputy director general – IoT, Telecommunication Engineering Center (TEC) reveals to Baishakhi Dutta of the Electronicsfor.com Network how IoT designers can refer to TEC’s technical resources for creating a standardised IoT ecosystem.
Q. Can you provide a general overview on the growing IoT landscape of the country – what successes have been achieved and what are yet to come?
Machine-to-machine (M2M) communication / Internet of Things (IoT) is one of the most disrupted technologies as on date. It is benefitted by several other associated technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, Big Data analytics, Cloud / Edge computing, 5G etc.
Globally, by 2020, there may be around 25 billion connected devices. Projections vary from 24 B to 50 B connected devices.
As per our estimations, there may be around 2.6 billion connected devices in India by 2020. However, it will depend upon the development of eco-system. Connected devices may be in various verticals such as Power, Automotive, Health, Safety & Surveillance, Agriculture, Retails, Waste management, water management, Smart homes, Smart cities etc.
National Digital Communication Policy released by the Department of Telecom (DoT) has envisaged five billion devices to be connected by 2022. For this, the ecosystem is required to be developed.
Connected devices will provide data in real-time, which can be analysed using big data analytics to create intelligence. Intelligence may be used for various planning and operational activities. The ultimate goal is to improve the quality of life.
Q. How is TEC working to solve the primary challenges in the IoT ecosystem today?
TEC, a standardisation and advisory arm of DoT, is working on various points. TEC is expected to adopt OneM2M standards and also finalize standards for Smart cities as directed by Secretary DoT.
TEC has released 12 Technical reports in M2M/ IoT domain (www.tec.gov.in/technical-reports/) in the last 2-3 years. Actionable points emerged from these reports are being used to develop the ecosystem in the IoT domain.
13-digit number scheme for SIM-based devices / Gateways proposed by TEC has already been approved by DoT and being implemented by TSPs. This scheme will coexist with the 10-digit number system (for voice calling). Other actionable points are a spectrum for low power wireless devices, Embedded SIM, Interoperability, etc.
Interoperability is required for devices, networks and applications /platforms. Interoperability leads to economies of scale.
Q. How can IoT solution providers benefit from the embedded SIM applications mentioned in these documents in creating solutions?
Technical Report on Embedded SIM based on GSMA guideline was released in TEC in 2015. Ministry of Road Transport & Highways and Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) have included it in their standards for vehicle- Location tracking devices. The guidelines have been made essential for all passenger-commercial vehicles.
If you place the normal SIM in the vehicle tracking device, its life will not be more than four-five years. It may damage due to vibration, temperature or humidity. However, the embedded SIM, which is in the form of IC can tolerate the temperature from -40 degree C to 105 degrees C and is having the life of 12 – 15 years. It cannot be taken out as it will be soldered on the PCB.
Embedded SIM is useful for remote asset monitoring also. Embedded SIM is already being used in consumer devices as well as enterprise applications.
Q. Do you think that there is any clarity on which type of communication technology should be used in which application?
Data size may vary from few kbps (metering information, alert etc.) to several MBs (camera video) depending upon the use case. Communication technology will depend upon the use case only.
In IoT transmission of the right data at the right time is important. A number of communication technologies exist both in the cellular and noncellular category.
In cellular technology, NB-IoT and LTE-MTC can be used for the IoT. These compete with LoRa and Sigfox technologies working on delicensed frequency band. Technical report on Communication technologies in M2M / IoT domain has already been released in TEC and available on www.tec.gov.in/technical-reports/.
Q. Talking about IoT, security plays a huge role. Do you think this is well developed in India?
It is a vast subject. We are working on “Security by Design Principles and Trust Centre for IoT” work items. Hardware and software security features are required to be built in within the device. Mandatory Testing & Certification of Telecom Equipment (MTCTE) is going to start under TEC. Devices and the telecom equipment will be tested in the designated labs on EMC, Safety, Security, Technical protocols, IPv6, SAR related standards, etc.
Q. Where do you think IoT is helping the ESDM sector to grow relating to their necessity and demands?
The credit goes to semiconductor companies for their innovations. They have developed sensors, chips, actuators miniaturizing them. Semiconductor prices are reducing and computing power is increasing exponentially. It will help in creating an eco system for the proliferation of IoT domain.
Q. Do you think that lack of hardware infrastructure will affect the IoT ecosystem in India?
Q. From a sales perspective, what will be your message to CXOs or entrepreneurs to become successful?
In the IoT domain, security will be quite important. For this, the devices are required to be tested in the designated labs by TEC. It will help in creating brand value.