Solution for IoT Interoperability - W3C Web of Things (WoT)
Web technologies enable the full potential of the Internet of Things by interconnecting platforms, devices, and cloud services
https://www.w3.org/ — 9 April 2020 — The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) announced today that Web of Things (WoT) Architecture and Web of Things (WoT) Thing Description (TD) are now official W3C Recommendations, thus enabling easy integration across Internet of Things platforms and applications.
Many Internet of Things applications have been developed for areas as diverse as Smart factory, Smart city, Smart home and public health. By standardizing the web level descriptions of Things, we intend to promote interoperability in these important areas.
Keeping the promise to enhance interoperability and counter fragmentation in IoT
With the diversity of technologies used in Internet of Things (IoT), such as protocols and data models, information technology users are increasingly facing high integration and maintenance costs in IoT projects as well as the need to avoid isolated silos that often leave them stuck with obsolete software and falling behind in innovation. The W3C Web of Things keeps the promise to counter the fragmentation of the Internet of Things by defining a Web-based abstraction layer for existing platforms, devices, gateways and services. By complementing existing standards, it enhances interoperability thereby reducing the risk for investors and customers. This will also enable the rapid growth of open markets for devices and services.
These solutions are already deployed in products today
The Web of Things is applicable to multiple IoT domains, including Smart Home, Industrial, Smart City, Retail, and Health applications, where usage of the W3C WoT standards can simplify the development of IoT systems that combine devices from multiple vendors and ecosystems.
One of the key components of how the W3C membership builds standards is by implementing the standards as they are being built. This has resulted in the WoT Technologies being available today in a number of solutions from our Members and others in the technology industry.
- Siemens Desigo CC, their flagship Building Management Station uses WoT to help easily integrate datapoints and functions from different IoT systems into the Desigo CC management station and from there to cloud systems;
- The Eclipse Thingweb node-wot is a reference implementation (in Node.js) of the WoT standards and used as baseline for many other implementations and WoT-based projects (including proof of concept projects for Smart Cities and Retail);
- Node-RED, the well-known low-code development tool from the OpenJS Foundation, supports the WoT Thing Description as part of the Node Generator project to simplify the development of Node-RED nodes, which started as a contribution by Hitachi as part of their W3C WoT participation;
- Mozilla WebThings is an open platform based on WoT to develop privacy and security based smart home applications;
- Fujitsu offers WoT-compliant edge and cloud proxy (a software product), which can connect different IoT devices locally and aggregate them with a single interface to build large-scale systems on the cloud;
- Further WoT runtime implementations are WoTPy (in Python) and SANE Web of Things Servient (in Java).
Our Members tell their own stories the best in the testimonials below.
What does the future hold?
Two baseline specifications have been developed since the launch of the Web of Things Working Group to define an abstract architecture, a common data format for describing IoT devices and services, and several building blocks that increase interoperability for IoT applications and reduce integration efforts and costs:
- The WoT Architecture describes the overall Web of Things conceptual framework.
- The WoT Thing Description is to the Internet of Things what index.html is to a website: it can be considered as the entry point of a physical or virtual Thing/device.
The work is far from over! W3C having recently renewed the WoT Working Group charter for the second generation of Web of Things, is continuing to expand the scope and depth of the work in this area. By example, the group plans to cover minimum-effort onboarding of Things in a secure way; interoperability profiles for support of particular usage contexts and specific technologies; vocabulary support for new protocols and additional standard metadata such as location or device manufacturer; security schemes to support constantly evolving security mechanisms such as flows in OAuth2, support for PoP Tokens, support for ACE among others; links relation type specification to maximize interoperability; standardized discovery mechanisms so that devices self-describe directly rather than depending on a centralized infrastructure; and improvements to Thing Description Templates.
About the World Wide Web Consortium
The mission of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is to lead the Web to its full potential by creating technical standards and guidelines to ensure that the Web remains open, accessible, and interoperable for everyone around the globe. W3C well-known standards HTML and CSS are the foundational technologies upon which websites are built. W3C works on ensuring that all foundational Web technologies meet the needs of civil society, in areas such as accessibility, internationalization, security, and privacy. W3C also provides the standards that undergird the infrastructure for modern businesses leveraging the Web, in areas such as entertainment, communications, digital publishing, and financial services. That work is created in the open, provided for free and under the groundbreaking W3C Patent Policy. For its work to make online videos more accessible with captions and subtitles, W3C received a 2016 Emmy Award. And for its work to standardize a Full TV Experience on the Web, W3C received a 2019 Emmy Award.
W3C's vision for "One Web" brings together thousands of dedicated technologists representing more than 400 Member organizations and dozens of industry sectors. W3C is jointly hosted by the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (MIT CSAIL) in the United States, the European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics (ERCIM) headquartered in France, Keio University in Japan and Beihang University in China. For more information see https://www.w3.org/.
End Press Release
Amy van der Hiel, W3C Media Relations Coordinator <firstname.lastname@example.org>
+1.617.253.5628 (US, Eastern Time)
Testimonials from W3C members
Over the past couple of years, operators in the Convenience Retail Industry have come to a realization: “data” may be a more important asset than “location.” Existing, purpose-built data streams (such as transaction logs) exclude important contextual data, and while IoT data could help fill this gap, operators face big integration challenges in the absence of standards. The lack of standards for defining IoT data also makes it difficult for operators to propose definitions tailored to their needs. Web of Things promises to solve both the integration and the definition problems for retail operators. Conexxus, as the standards organization for Convenience Retail, endorses the Web of Things work and has already begun to use “Thing Descriptions” in current committees. Thanks to W3C for supporting this forward-looking work.David Ezell, Director of New Initiatives, Conexxus
The interoperability, the WoT standard trying to solve, remains the biggest challenge in IoT. The newly defined Web interface in WoT not only provides unified control over a various IoT devices, but also enables integration with many business systems using Web technologies. In addition, Metadata describing the device functions and Protocol Binding mapping to the device interfaces can also be applied to new communications technologies such as 5G, which are expected to become widespread in the future. Fujitsu believe that WoT is an indispensable technology and will have a significant impact on the digitization of our customers' systems.Shingo Mizuno, Senior Vice President, Fujitsu Limited
We are pleased to see that "Web of Things" which connects a diverse range of IoT systems through Web technology has now been released as a W3C recommendation. Progress in IoT is driving an accelerated rate of data generated by business and society. Delivering appropriate feedback to the field using this data will lead to the creation of new value. We hope that “Web of Things” will make it easier to access insights and on-site equipment from across a wide range of operations and industry sectors, and enable the agile creation of new value for future society.Norihiro Suzuki, Vice President & Executive Officer, Chief Technology Officer, Hitachi, Ltd.
This new WoT Standard takes a step forward in addressing the fundamental problem holding back the commercial success of IOT: the challenge of connecting different systems and domains. It provides a solution to enable different systems and domains to communicate and share data.Eric Siow, Intel Corporation
Internet Research Institute
Internet Research Institute, Inc. welcomes the successful launch of advisories of ‘Web of Things Architecture’ and ‘Web of Things Thing Description’ by W3C. The Internet has been taking on a role to connect people to people with organizations through Web Technology. Accordingly, due to the spread of the IoT Technology, the Web Technology has found itself a new role of connecting various things to the Internet. It means, people, things and organization can now freely exchange information and data through the Web Technology. Furthermore, as 5G services spread, it is easy to imagine the combination of IoT Technology and Web Technology can lead us towards a prosperous future.
In fact, there are various protocols for IoT Technology exists today in the world, but unfortunately the interoperability of information and data exchange in between people and things, organization and things, things and things, are not being realized. In this situation, we are certain that ‘Web of Things Architecture’ and ‘Web of Things Thing Description’ will become the solution for this matter.
We are at the age of seeing out the preceding era of Internet that mainly connects people and seeing in an era of its connecting things. Therefore we strongly believe that WoT Technology could take a important role to develop a wide variety of the Internet services. In the future, we intend to proactively implement the development of services using WoT Technology.Hiroshi Fujiwara, CEO, Internet Research Institute, Inc.
Lack of interoperability standards and a highly fragmented ecosystem full of proprietary interfaces have been major hurdles for enterprise adoption of IoT technologies. These issue have been compounded by the wide range of proprietary data formats and connectivity protocols that are used across many different industries, making it very difficult to build IoT platforms that can be quickly extended for a large range of use cases. At Oracle we are thrilled that W3C Web of Things is addressing these issues head-on with the W3C Web of Things Specifications. Open standards have always opened up closed markets and driven rapid technology adoption. We firmly believe that this IoT ecosystem and the W3C Web of Things community will play a major role in bringing IoT technologies mainstream, and become a catalyst for a number of innovations benefitting a wide range of industries.Jai Suri, Senior Director, Internet of Things Cloud, Oracle
Panasonic is delighted with the publication of the Web of Things Recommendations. Our company has been involved in Web of Things activities since the first Web of Things Workshop in 2014 and has contributed to the formulation of the Recommendation through technical proposals and Plugfest. Panasonic is now transforming itself into a company that achieves “Lifestyle Updates”. We believe that the Web of Things will be one of important technologies contributing to this transformation.Yoshiyuki Miyabe, Senior Managing Executive Officer and CTO, Panasonic Corporation
The new WoT standard enables Siemens to better combine and analyze data from different systems and domains in a very simple yet meaningful way. We use WoT e.g. to integrate devices and subsystems into our flagship building management station Desigo CC and from there to the cloud. Heterogenous and proprietary OT and IoT solutions caused in the past significant engineering and maintenance effort, e.g. if you wanted to analyze holistically data from different sources in a building. Using WoT we can quickly integrate data from different devices into a data pool and use that pool for further value creation, e.g. analytics, engineering, validation, energy optimization.Helmut Macht, Chief Technology Officer, Siemens
The Government Technology Agency of Singapore (GovTech Singapore) welcomes the rollout of the WoT Architecture and Thing Description recommendations. We are hopeful that these recommendations will help to promote the development of an open, interoperable and standardised IoT ecosystem globally. This will not just benefit private enterprises operating in the smart technologies space, but public sector agencies that are looking to maximise IoT and its potential for their citizens.Lim Chinn Hwa, Senior Director, GovTech Singapore’s Smart Nation Platform Solutions