How does W3C compare to other organizations

From Web of Things Interest Group

What are the strengths of W3C and how does the work we want to do compare to that being done in other organisations?

W3C’s strengths

The IoT suffers from fragmentation and product silos, the W3C is one of the few organizations that can define global standards to enable discovery and interoperability of services on a world wide basis.

W3C is well placed to lead work on standards for the Web of Things given our ability to bring together people from a very broad range of stakeholders and geographic regions. Here is a list of some of W3C's strengths:

  • Royalty Free patent policy for W3C standards
  • Global standards for web technologies
  • Very broad representation of industry sectors
  • Strong support from major Internet companies
  • Most popular open standards based cross vendor platform
  • The vast Web developer community across the World
  • APIs for JavaScript and other web scripting languages
  • Markup technologies: HTML, SVG, SCXML, XML, EXI, …
  • Semantic technologies: Linked Data, RDF, OWL, SPARQL, RIF, …
  • Security, privacy and accessibility

The Web isn’t just about HTML and browsers. There is extensive use of web technologies server side. W3C is well positioned to take this to the next level to enable global markets for apps and interconnected services based upon scripting, and open standards that enable discovery and interoperation across vendors and international borders.

W3C seeks to define web technology standards at the app/service layer above the sensors, actuators and communications technologies that form the Internet of Things (Iot). This would cover direct access to the IoT from web browsers, service platforms in the cloud or at the network edge, as well as gateways that bridge IoT technologies to the Web. W3C is well positioned to support semantic interoperability of apps and services on a global scale.

For cyber-physical systems involving a control path connecting sensors to actuators, W3C will seek to support distributed control (e.g. the means to upload scripts into devices) to achieve the requirements for synchronisation, coordination and robust operation. As Vint Cerf and David Clark have both noted, strong security will depend upon the means to update control software to fix potential weaknesses as they are discovered.

W3C's work on the Web of Things is intended to support the needs of a broad range of application domains and industry sectors. As such W3C will seek to support industry specific efforts, e.g. for metadata vocabularies and data representations. W3C's work on the Web of Things will complement ongoing work on the IoT layer on devices and communication technologies.

Other organisations and standards

Here is an incomplete survey of other organisations with interests relating to the Web of Things:

Note: need to cover a wider range of organisations working on IoT communication technologies.

IEEE (P2413)

The IEEE P2413 working group focuses on a reference architecture for the Internet of things, covering the definition of basic architectural building blocks and their ability to be integrated into multi-tiered systems. For more information see the P2413 scope and meeting reports page, and the introduction to P2413 by Oleg Logvinov, Chair of the P2413 Working Group.

IEEE IoT is inviting submissions of use cases. These will be made available on the IEEE IoT web portal.


HyperCAT is a consortium and standard focusing on security and interoperability for the Internet of Things (IoT). HyperCAT defines a hypermedia JSON based catalogue format for updating and querying registries of IoT resources in terms of REST APIs and special URI conventions.


The NIST Cyber-Physical Systems Public Working Group is an American initiative focusing on systems that connect sensors to actuators to perform some useful purpose. There are five initial sub-working groups:

  • Vocabulary and Reference Architecture
  • Use Cases
  • Timing and Synchronization
  • Cybersecurity and Privacy
  • Data Interoperability

More information can be found at the CPS PWG website.

ZigBee Alliance

ZigBee is a short range wireless technology for low powered devices that may need to run on battery power for long periods. It is intended for applications that involve relatively modest amounts of data. For more information see the ZigBee Alliance website.

Internet of Things Directorate

The IETF has set up an Internet of Things Directorate to facilitate internal IETF coordination, and communicating with other IoT standard organizations and alliances that are developing solutions.


The Constrained Application Protocol (CoAP) is a IP based protocol for resource constrained devices and has been designed for easy translation to HTTP for integration with the Web. CoAP is generally implemented over IP datagrams (UDP). The protocol is standardised by the IETF CoRE Working Group. The main features include:

  • RESTful protocol design minimizing the complexity of mapping with HTTP.
  • Low header overhead and parsing complexity.
  • URI and content-type support.
  • Support for the discovery of resources provided by known CoAP services.
  • Simple subscription for a resource, and resulting push notifications.
  • Simple caching based on max-age.


The IETF Authentication and Authorization for Constrained Environments (ace) Working Group aims to authentication and authorization to enable authorized access (Get, Put, Post, Delete) to resources identified by a URI and hosted on a resource server in constrained environments. The initial focus is on CoAP and HTTP with DTLS and TLS.


The IRTF Thing to Thing Research Group investigates open research issues in turning a true "Internet of Things" into reality, an Internet where low-resource nodes ("things", "constrained nodes") can communicate among themselves and with the wider Internet, in order to partake in permissionless innovation. The focus of the T2TRG are on issues that touch opportunities for standardization in the IETF, i.e., it will start at the adaptation layer connecting devices to IP, and end at the application layer with architectures and APIs for communicating and making data and management functions (including security functions) available.

IoT Global Council

The IoT Global Council mission is to help their members learn about the rapidly-evolving world of IoT, discover emerging IoT technologies, and connect with industry peers. They support their members in the digital transformation of their organizations by connecting them with innovative people, products, and ideas.


OASIS develops standards for the information society. This includes MQTT (Message Queuing Telemetry Transport protocol), which is a positioned as a lightweight publish/subscribe protocol for resourced constrained devices and low bandwidth applications. MQTT requires a message broker that relays messages to interested parties according to the message topic. See the OASIS MQTT Technical Committee for more details.


Data Distribution Service (DDS) is a publish-subscribe protocol for connected machines, enterprise systems, and mobile devices. DDS is designed to support scalable, dependable, high performance communications for applications including financial trading, air traffic control and smart grids. More details are available on the OMG DDS Service Portal.


The Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP) is an XML based messaging publish-subscribe protocol. It has been used for VoIP signalling, video, file transfer, gaming, social network services and IoT applications including smart grid. More information can be found on the XMPP Standards Foundation website.


The Advanced Message Queuing Protocol (AMQP) is a binary application layer protocol that addresses message orientation, queuing, routing, reliability and security. For more information see the OASIS AMQP website

IPSO Alliance

The IPSO Alliance focuses on using the Internet Protocol (IP) for connecting smart objects. IPSO Guidelines, for instance, cover RESTful design for use in IP Smart Object Systems such as Home Automation, Building Automation and other M2M Applications.

Update: merged with the Open Mobile Alliance in 2018 to form OMA SpecWorks.

ITU-T Study Group 13

The ITU-T Study Group 13: Future networks including cloud computing, mobile and next-generation networks has published a draft recommendation Y.2076 (formerly Y.IoT-semantic-reqts-framework) “Semantics based requirements and framework of the Internet of Things”. This specifies semantics based requirements and framework for the Internet of Things (IoT). The scope includes:

  • introduction to semantic technologies for the IoT
  • semantics based use cases for IoT actors
  • semantics based requirements of the IoT
  • emantics based capability framework of the IoT

ITU-T Study Group 16

The ITU-T Study Group 16: Multimedia has an interest in Internet of Things applications and services. This includes studies on home networks, M2M and a Web of Things reference architecture, in particular:

This describes an architecture comprising:

  • Web of Things brokers which act as gateways between the Web and the IoT connectivity technologies
  • Web based services which rely on HTTP and the representational state transfer (REST) communication pattern
  • Mashups which combine multiple Web based services
  • Web Applications that make use of mashups or individual services.

Web of things brokers themselves include an adaptation layer that feeds a service layer. The adaptation layer consists of agents that handle protocol translation and resource management for dealing with physical devices that don't directly support Web protocols. Y.2063 further describes some use cases for home automation. For further information, see current work items.

ITU-T Study Group 20

The ITU Study Group 20 addresses the Internet of Things and its applications including smart cities and communities. It is working to address the standardization requirements of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, with an initial focus on IoT applications in smart cities and communities (SC&C).

SG20 develops international standards to enable the coordinated development of IoT technologies, including machine-to-machine communications and ubiquitous sensor networks. A central part of this study is the standardization of end-to-end architectures for IoT, and mechanisms for the interoperability of IoT applications and datasets employed by various vertically oriented industry sectors. SG20 had its first meeting in October 2015.


WG10 was established late last year and had the first meeting in January. There is an ongoing project, ISO/IEC 30141, Information technology - Internet of Things Reference Architecture (IoT RA). The scope of the project is "Specifying IoT conceptual model, conceptual reference model, and reference architecture from different architectural views, common entities, and interfaces between IoT domains."

Regarding the terms of reference, WG 10 is going to develop IoT Vocabulary (including terms and Definitions) and foundational specifications. Also, at the first meeting, WG 10 established 3 Subgroup Rapporteur Groups on IoT standardization gaps, network level technologies for IoT and IoT identification. Further more, WG 10 is expected to develop IoT interoperability and many other IoT-related works.


MTC stands for Machine Type Communications which is aimed at M2M devices like meters that send their readings over cellular packet data networks. MTC traffic is marked as low urgency, and has features to enable operators to manage overload/congestion control.


The European Telecommunications Standards Institute develops standards for Information & Communications Technologies including fixed, mobile, radio, broadcast, internet, aeronautical and other areas. These include standards for machine to machine communications (M2M). ETSI notes that while M2M deployments may make use of short-range or proprietary radio links, cellular-based M2M solutions will be preferred where mobility is required, or where high data volumes or data transfer rates are involved. For details about ETSI's current M2M activities, please visit the ETSI M2M portal.

ETSI M2M supports a RESTful architecture style with resources that are structured as a tree. Here are some of the features:

  • Identification of applications and devices
  • Both synchronous and asynchronous communications
  • Store and forward mechanism
  • Location information
  • Device management
  • Mutual authentication
  • Secure communication
  • Access control policies

Semantic interoperability of M2M services will depend on the use of common ontologies and data representations.


The GSMA represents over 800 network operators mobile and connected industry members. It has worked extensively on requirements and guidelines for IoT security in its IoT Security working group as well as under the Fraud and Security group (FASG) and its sub-groups, for network security (Fraud and Security Architecture Group), device security (Device Security Group) and fraud aspects. It also maintains a watching brief over emerging security and fraud issues and incidents. In other areas groups study the SIM related aspects, the connected car, web aspects and there is also a group on Mobile IoT focused on narrow-band IoT requirements.


OneM2M develops standards for the M2M service layer with a view to addressing the needs of business domains such as: telematics and intelligent transportation, healthcare, utilities, industrial automation, smart homes, etc. OneM2M is a partnership project between ARIB, ATIS, CCSA, ETSI, TIA, TTA and TTC.

OMA SpecWorks

OMA SpecWorks formed in 2018 from a merger of the OMA and IPSO Alliance to focus on IoT over mobile and static line networks. This brings together work on Lightweight M2M and work on IP connected smart objects.


The Open Mobile Alliance focuses on standards for interoperable mobile services, including traditional cellular operator networks and emerging networks supporting machine-to-machine device communication. New work areas include: Device Management, M2M Communications, API’s, and Augmented Reality.

The OMA Generic Open Terminal API allows applications on Android and iOS smart phones to access IoT devices via a local HTTP server installed on the phone. The server may also suport access via WebSockets, Server-Sent Events and WebRTC. The server uses plugins for various classes of IoT devices.

Docomo, Fujitsu and others are extending it toward specific and generic applications, e.g. personal connected health devices, see the work item description

OMA and Continua (now PCHA) have had workshops on this, and there is an ongoing discussion about how to enable a browser-based UX for personal connected devices.

Update: merged with the IPSO Alliance in 2018 to form OMA SpecWorks.

Open API Initiative (OAI)

The Open API Initiative focuses on means to describe REST APIs using [1].

Open Data

The Open Data charter has been agreed by the governments for the G8 group of countries. The premise is that free access to, and subsequent re-use of, open data are of significant value to society and the economy. The charter sets out the following principles as the foundation for access to, and the release and re-use of, data made available by G8 governments.

  • Open Data by Default
  • Quality and Quantity
  • Useable by All
  • Releasing Data for Improved Governance
  • Releasing Data for Innovation

Open Applications Group (OAGIS)

The Open Applications Group aims to encourage business process interoperability both within and across businesses.

  • What if any is the connection to the IoT?

Open Fog Consortium

The Open Fog Consortium focuses on moving computational power closer to the network-edge, i.e. reducing the reliance on cloud computing. The aim is to address challenges, such as high latency on the network, support of end point mobility, loss of connectivity, unpredictable bandwidth bottlenecks and distributed coordination of systems and clients.

Note: the W3C Web of Things enables designers to choose where to place computational and storage resources as part of a Web of servers on devices that range in scale from low cost microcontrollers to cloud-based server farms. An example is where control in cyber-physical systems is pushed to a hub that tightly coordinates a cluster of local IoT devices, e.g. in a manufacturing production line. Local hubs can also be also be applied to collecting data from multiple sensors and performing data processing operations that reduce the load on cloud based systems.

Open Connectivity Foundation (formerly Open Interconnect Consortium)

The Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF) focuses on connectivity requirements and interoperability of IoT devices. The output will be an open specification together with an open source implementation. OCC intends to support certification of support for its specifications. OCC is based on CoAP and XMPP. Security is based upon Oauth, DTLS and PreShardKey. OCC together with the Linux Foundation sponsors Iotivity an open source implementation of an IoT connectivity framework for wired and wireless devices.

The Open Group

The mission of The Open Group is to drive the creation of Boundaryless Information. The Open Group IoT Work Group has produced two standards: the Open Data Format (O-DF) and the Open Messaging Interface (O-MI). It is now working on a standard for open IoT lifecycle management.

OPC Foundation

The OPC Foundation coordinates the interoperability standard OPC Unified Architecture (OPC-UA) which was originally developed for the Industrial Automation market. The OPC-UA architecture (IEC62541) provides an interoperability standard for vendor, platform and market neutral secure data exchange and data modelling, ranging from small sensors up to IT Enterprise level systems.

Alliance for Internet of Things Innovation (AIOTI)

The AIOTI is intended to help the European Commission prepare future IoT research and innovation, standardisation and policy. The Alliance is also to be instrumental in the definition and design of IoT Large Scale Pilots to be funded under the Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme. The AIOTI has several potentially relevant working groups:

  • WG1 IoT Research cluster
  • WG2 Innovation Ecosystems
  • WG3 IoT Standardisation
  • WG4 Policy issues (trust, security, liability and privacy)
  • WG5 Smart living for ageing well
  • WG6 Smart farming and food security
  • WG7 Wearables
  • WG8 Smart cities
  • WG9 Smart transport
  • WG10 Smart environment
  • WG11 Smart manufacturing

Wireless IoT Forum

The Wireless IoT Forum is a UK registered organisation with the goal of driving the widespread adoption of wireless wide-area networking technologies dedicated to the Internet of Things. There are several working groups dedicated to marketing and requirements, review of standard APIs, connectivity and harmonisation of regulations for license exempt and licensed spectrum.

Industry 4.0

Industry 4.0 is an initiative by the German government on applying the Internet of Things to smart manufacturing. The aim is to reduce the time from design to finished product, and to facilitate bespoke products tailored to the customer's needs.

Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC)

The Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) focuses on identifying and promoting best practices for industrial applications of the Internet of Things. IIC was launched in early 2014 with AT&T, Cisco Systems, General Electric, IBM and Intel as founding members. The IIC plans to coordinate the development of common architectures and platforms, including the identification and location of devices, transport of data between them, control of collections of heterogeneous devices and their integration, data extraction and storage, plus data and predictive analytics.

Internet of Things Security Foundation (IoTSF)

The Internet of Things Security Foundation (IoTSF) was formed in response to the dramatic cyber-security threat exposure brought about by IoT applications. Whilst IoTSF is not a standards body per-se, it seeks to raise the standard of security across IoT as it increasingly permeates modern life from consumer gadgets to national infrastructure projects. It seeks to drive the quality of security by producing best practice guidelines, encouraging providers and adopters to consider security from the start and work with existing standards bodies such as W3C to ensure standards are fit for purpose. IoTSF has a growing number of working groups addressing challenges in areas such as consumer products, patching constrained devices and responsible disclosure. More details can be found on the IoT Security Foundation website.

Security is crucial to IoT market success

Telefonica – scope, sale and risk like never before


The IEC is an international standards organization for electrical, electronic and related technologies. The IEC Strategy Group 8 was launched in 2014 to focus on smart manufacturing and "Industry 4.0". Starting with an inventory of existing standards and standardization projects in progress, SG8 will develop a function model/reference architecture to identify missing standards. It will extend the IEC common data dictionary (CDD) and address topics including:

  • Environmental conditions
  • Security
  • Properties
  • Energy efficiency
  • Safety (product and functional safety)

More details are given in the SG8 proposed scope.

IEC (TC57)

The IEC is an international standards organization for electrical, electronic and related technologies. IEC Technical Committee 57 develops standards for information exchange for power and energy management systems. It has a number of working groups focusing on different areas.

Consumer Technology Association (CTA)

The mission of the Consumer Technology Association (formerly CEA) is to grow the consumer technology industry. CTA provides market research and forecasts, consumer surveys, legislative and regulatory news, enginering standards, training resources and more. CTA organizes the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Dynamic Coalition on Internet of Things (DC IoT)

The purpose of the Dynamic Coalition on the Internet of Things is mainly to look into new emerging opportunities of the IoT and to develop a strategy on how to frame a new policy discussion around those new opportunities. Participants have come from all stakeholder groups: government, private sector, technical community as well as civil society.


EEBus is a German initiative focusing on energy management for smart grids and smart homes. A variety of communication technologies are supported, e.g. ZigBee, KNX, BACnet, and EnOcean, with a mapping to IP for wide area networks.


The OpenADR Alliance focuses on support for smart grids, e.g. shaping demand to match currently available supply of power. OpenADR is short for Open Automated Demand Response. The OpenADR alliance seeks to foster the development, adoption and compliance to existing standards from OASIS, UCA and NAESB.


This is an initiative by Apple aimed at devices for home automation HomeKit covers discovery, configuration, communication and control of home automation devices, e.g. from iPhones and iPad tablets. HomeKit models physical devices as "accessories". These are assigned to a room and are uniquely named within a home. A HomeKit accessory has access to the device's state and can be used to control it. More information is available on the Apple developer site for HomeKit.

  • What protocols does HomeKit rely on?
  • Is HomeKit proprietary to Apple or intended as a global open standard?


The THREAD Group focuses on a low power mesh network technology for home automation, e.g. access control, climate control, energy management, lighting, safety, and security. It is based upon IPv6 and 6LoWPAN, and protects data connections with strong encryption.

AllSeen Alliance

The AllSeen Alliance focuses on an IoT connectivity framework based upon the AllJoyn Open Source Project. This exposes devices as Linux D-Bus messages.

Automation ML

The AutomationML initiative is an industrial consortium that develops and maintains an open, neutral, XML based, and free industry data representation standard which enables a domain and company spanning transfer of engineering data.

HomePlug Alliance

The [HomePlug Alliance]( is a group of companies working together to develop technology specifications and certification & logo programs for powerline networking for use in [smart homes](