The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has set up a study group to look into the challenges of setting standards and interoperability for the use of Internet of Things (IoT) devices in smart cities.
The ITU-T Study Group 20 will look at building and supporting international standards and boosting the use and development of IoT software and solutions as this becomes a major focus for the future of urban environments. The UK has a number of smart cities, including Milton Keynes (below).
"Building smart sustainable cities will require efficient collaboration between the public and private sectors," said ITU secretary general Houlin Zhao.
"This new ITU-T Study Group will bring together a diverse selection of stakeholders, placing ITU's technical expertise at the service of other industry sectors as well as the national and metropolitan administrations responsible for urban development."
The group will aim for the "standardisation of end-to-end architectures" and interoperability with a range of systems, vendors and providers.
There are expected to be some 50 billion IoT devices in use within five years, and they will touch on every part of daily life, according to the ITU.
"The coming five years will be crucial in ensuring that IoT technologies meet their potential," said Chaesub Lee, director of the ITU Telecommunication Standardisation Bureau.
"ITU-T is very active in IoT standardisation, and we aim to assist cities around the world in creating the conditions necessary for IoT technologies to prove their worth in addressing urban development challenges."
There will be a predicted 50 million IoT devices in use by 2020, and growth in IoT spending is expected to rise from $565bn this year to £1.7tn in the same period.
IDC's Worldwide Internet of Things Forecast 2015-2020 found that most of the spending will be by enterprises and the public sector.
"While wearable devices are the consumer face of the IoT, and where recognition of IoT appears to begin, the real opportunity remains in the enterprise and public sector markets," said Vernon Turner, IDC's senior vice president and research fellow for IoT in the enterprise.
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