W3C Strategic Highlights: Meeting Industry Needs (Web of Things)

a globe with icons stretching out for a car, laptop, medical, smart grid, industrial icons

(This post is part of a series recapping the October 2018 W3C Strategic Highlights. This post does not include significant updates since that report.)

The potential of the Internet of Things (IoT) is held back through fragmentation and a lack of interoperability. W3C’s Web of Things is designed to stimulate growth in services by decoupling applications from the underlying IoT technologies. Applications will no longer need to be developed around the details of the myriad IoT technologies and standards, this means that developers can create applications more easily, with less effort, especially, when combining IoT devices from different ecosystems.

W3C’s approach relies on rich descriptions of sensors, actuators and related information services using Linked Data expressed with JSON-LD. This builds upon the widespread popularity of the JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) to model things as objects with properties, actions and events. Applications can thus interact with things using simple object-oriented programs without the need to be aware of where the things are, and what communications technologies are needed to access them.

When applications that supply and consume services are connected together it is important that these applications agree on the meaning as well as the data formats for the data they exchange. The Web of Things supports this need for semantic interoperability by enabling rich semantic descriptions of the kinds of things, their capabilities and relationship to the environment in which they reside.

The Web of Things Working Group advances specifications around thing descriptions, declarative protocol binding templates, scripting APIs and security guidelines, and is expecting to produce Candidate Recommendations in early 2019.

The Web of Things Interest Group is collaborating with schema.org and there are plans for vocabulary development in the W3C Schema Extensions for IoT Community Group. The Web of Things is strongly dependent on W3C’s Web of Data.

For more recent news, please see the Web of Things home page.