“Demand standardised IoT”
Swedish IoT suppliers should always base their products and services on international standards. This will also benefit the public sector, which is now using IoT more and more. Increased use of standards strengthens Sweden’s competitive power internationally.
The use of common standards is of paramount importance for the public sector to fully exploit the opportunities of IoT in their operations. Municipalities and regions are already well advanced in their use of IoT. Connected public transport, smart waste management and solutions in healthcare are just a few examples of how IoT is used on a daily basis around the country.
At the same time, there is huge untapped potential. The constant lock-in effects (that systems can only be used for one purpose) that municipalities and regions struggle with can be avoided by using common standards. Public sector and industry users in Sweden should therefore demand that suppliers of IoT products and services always use international standards. In short, it is about gaining access to a wider range to choose from, as competition ultimately leads to better prices and performance for IoT products and services.
Facilitating IoT procurement
One group acting with IoT Sweden is the Working Group for Standards and Platforms. One of our main goals is to make it easier for municipalities and regions to procure and implement IoT in their operations. It often takes a pretty good technical understanding to be able to successfully navigate these issues.
Municipalities do not always have the technical expertise themselves and become dependent on consultants, who in turn may not have a clear picture of all their needs. This is why it becomes so important that the platforms used are based on internationally standardised technologies.
International standardisation aims to provide users with products and systems that are:
- Affordable with good performance.
- Interoperable (interoperability means that systems can “work together” by accessing and using each other’s information).
A good example from the mobile phone industry
To understand the importance of using international standards, I would like to relate to developments in the mobile phone industry. In the 1980s, Nordisk mobiltelefoni, NMT, came out with the first generation of mobile phones. Since then, we have seen an avalanche of technology development and use from GSM, LTE/4G to today’s 5G.
Today, billions of users have mobile phones with access to good coverage and affordable consumer prices. The price of an international call today is a fraction of the cost of an NMT call. This development would not have been possible without the use of common international standards.
How we work with standards in the Working Group
There are already well-developed and published international standards for IoT today. The Working Group is gathering knowledge about these, which will then be presented and discussed. The development of a guide is in the pipeline, which will include Swedish IoT vocabulary.
The formal standardisation in Sweden is handled by TK IoT under SEK, Svensk Elstandard, with whom the Working Group has close contact. Standards approved by CEN are introduced through EU directives that are implemented in Sweden. Standards approved by ISO/IEC that are adopted and used in Sweden are made into a Swedish Standard and issued a so-called SS number.
Swedish companies are needed internationally
Swedish companies clearly have a great responsibility when it comes to the use of international standards. Large Swedish companies that manufacture IoT products and services, such as Ericsson, ABB, Vattenfall, SAAB, Volvo and Atlas Copco, are of course involved in the work on standards. But they can and should focus even more on international standards in particular, which is a key issue.
Academic foundations and organisations, such as the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (IVA), Svensk Elstandard (SEK), the Swedish Institute for Standards (SiS), and the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research (SSF), are and should be further engaged to provide support and to spread knowledge about international standards through seminars and other types of events and media.
We invite you to become involved in our network
Are you interested and want to know more about our work on standards and platforms? Please feel free to contact any of us in the Working Group for Standards and Platforms.
Written by Östen Frånberg
Östen Frånberg is part of IoT Sweden’s Working Group for Standards and Platforms. He has extensive experience in international IoT standardisation. Östen is one of Sweden’s internet pioneers and over the years has been professionally active in both academia and industry. A selection of his positions and assignments include Technical Director at Ericsson with research in the field of infrastructure. Former board chair and founder of the Swedish Internet Foundation, project manager at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, former programme director and co-founder of IoT Sweden.