Enhanced Web of Things connects diverse IoT ecosystems
https://www.w3.org/ – 5 December 2023 – The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) announced today that Web of Things (WoT) Architecture 1.1, Web of Things (WoT) Thing Description 1.1, and Web of Things (WoT) Discovery are now official W3C Recommendations. Without breaking compatibility with the first release in 2020, these new W3C Recommendations improve and expand the scope of the Web of Things and add significant new functionality. In addition, two supporting W3C Notes have been updated, the Web of Things (WoT) Binding Templates and the Web of Things (WoT) Scripting API.
WoT addresses the IoT fragmentation problem
Currently, Internet of Things (IoT) systems suffer from lack of interoperability and fragmentation. Customers want to be able to choose devices from multiple vendors without redesign. The Web of Things (WoT) extends the IoT with web technology to address this issue. In particular, the WoT recommendations provide a format for standardized descriptive information, the WoT Thing Description, to allow easy integration of IoT devices and services. This includes IoT systems that have already been released and use different IoT communication protocols and data standards. In short, the WoT uses web technology to harmonize access to diverse IoT devices and breaks silo walls. This allows WoT applications to be written on top of a single, portable interaction abstraction.
Significant improvements and functionality
These new Recommendations were revised to improve the usability of the previous release and address new use cases. Significant new features were also defined, including Thing Models and Discovery. Thing Models provide a way to describe classes of things, such as sensor devices or product lines from particular vendors, and support modularity by allowing a parameterized model to be built from reusable components.
A Thing Model can be used to generate a Thing Description by providing the appropriate parameters. Discovery provides easy access to Thing Descriptions, while controlling access appropriately to preserve privacy. It does not replace other existing discovery mechanisms but builds upon and applies them to the distribution of Thing Descriptions.
WoT Discovery can be applied both within a local-area network (LAN), and at scale across the entire internet. It can also be used for both self-describing IoT devices and externally described devices. A searchable Thing Description Directory service is defined supporting semantic search.
Widely adopted and supported
Many software packages and open-source projects now support WoT, including tools for Thing Description validation and construction as well as support for Thing runtimes and Thing Description directories supporting discovery.
Market adoption of the Web of Things is gaining momentum, with notable products such as SayWoT! and Desigo CC from Siemens and the Building Communication System from Takenaka. Interesting products from startups are also appearing like MONAS and Agorà from VAIMEE for creating digital twins of cast-resin transformers, and in the agricultural domain for crops and terrains; and Krellian Cloud, which provides real-time data analytics for smart buildings. Additionally, the Web of Things has either been adopted or is under consideration for adoption by several standards organizations, including ECHONET, Conexxus, the OPC Foundation (OPC UA Web-of-Things Connectivity), IPA Digital Architecture Design Center, and Industrial Digital Twin Association (Asset Interfaces Description).
The growing WoT user community is supported by multiple WoT Community Groups, which hold regular meetings to share information on WoT and its applications in both English and Japanese.
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.
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 a public-interest non-profit organization incorporated in the United States of America, led by a Board of Directors and employing a global staff across the globe. For more information see https://www.w3.org/.
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Amy van der Hiel, W3C Media Relations Coordinator <email@example.com>
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Testimonials from W3C Members
"We are pleased to endorse the updated Web of Things (WoT) standard. This update has made the specifications more practical and applicable, and we committed to continuing our support. As an integrator, we aim to build out digital transformation (DX) solutions based on the global standards, driven by 5G and IoT technologies. Fujitsu believes that this approach will enable us to seamlessly connect to AI-powered solutions, thereby enhancing our ability to deliver innovative and efficient services to our clients."
Bun Kimura, Head of Strategic Planning Department, Product Planning Div., Mobile System Business Unit, Fujitsu Limited
"To feedback effective solutions from digital twins to real-world systems, it is essential that we are able to quickly find devices in the physical environment and understand their roles and the context of the data which they provide. The updated recommendations to which we contributed in part, include enhanced capabilities such as Thing Discovery that will facilitate this link between the physical and cyberspace. We're enthusiastic that these leaps in cyber-physical systems will stimulate progress across diverse sectors and contribute to the realization of a better society."
Itaru Nishizawa, Vice President and Executive Officer, Chief Technology Officer, Hitachi, Ltd.
"Intel congratulates the WoT WG for the updated WoT standard. This update solidifies support for the descriptive approach to IoT interoperability. IoT fragmentation remains a major barrier to greater IoT adoption. The WoT standard addresses a key challenge in the integration of IoT devices and services from different IoT ecosystems by providing a common format for describing data and interaction. This descriptive approach strongly differentiates it from other prescriptive approaches to IoT interoperability, and is designed to work with and enhance other standards, not compete with them."
Eric Siow, Director, Web Standards and Ecosystem Strategies, Intel Corporation
"We built a reference implementation that uses the new Web of Things (WoT) release with our Azure OpenAI service to demonstrate how to automatically onboard industrial assets and were pleased with how easy it was to generate WoT Thing Descriptions automatically. In addition, the open-source WoT tools available from the Eclipse Foundation made automatic validation of the generated Thing Description an easy value add."
Erich Barnstedt, Chief Architect Standards, Consortia and Industrial IoT, Azure Edge + Platform Team, Microsoft Corporation
"The Web of Things set of specifications, including the updated version 1.1, serves as a unifying framework to address complex IoT use cases requiring interoperability across diverse ecosystems at massive scale. Oracle is pleased with the progression of this set of specifications to the Recommendation status and is proud to have been an active contributor, leader, and co-editor of this effort. We believe that this will benefit customers and users by enabling much-needed interoperability between different vendor solutions for IoT."
Jai Suri, Vice President, IoT and Blockchain Applications Development, Oracle
"Addressing today's market challenges, such as energy optimization, requires technologies that facilitate easy heterogeneous system integration and optimization implementation. The Web of Things, which is one of the key technology building blocks, facilitates addressing such challenges by integrating efficient diverse data sources from a variety of device systems. Our in-house solution sayWoT! implements the latest WoT Thing Description 1.1 and is successfully used in various IoT projects by customers. One of the highlights is the usage of sayWoT! in the Wunsiedel Energy Park, Germany, to enable smart control to ensure green hydrogen production."
Thomas Kiessling, Chief Technology Officer at Smart Infrastructure, Siemens AG
VE3 (formerly "Banksly")
"The W3C's enhanced Web of Things (WoT) standards, including WoT Architecture 1.1, WoT Thing Description 1.1, and WoT Discovery, represent a significant leap in addressing the challenges of IoT interoperability and system fragmentation. The harmonization of IoT devices and services brought about by these standards resonates with our pursuit of seamless and integrated digital solutions. We particularly appreciate the advancements in Thing Models and Discovery, which align with our focus on scalable, modular, and privacy-conscious digital infrastructure. Through the implementation of these WoT standards, we envision an accelerated progression in developing intelligent, interconnected systems that are not only efficient but also accessible and secure. This aligns perfectly with our mission at VE3 to drive technological advancements that are both innovative and sustainable."
Manish Garg, Director, VE3
Testimonials from Liaison partners
"The OPC Foundation welcomes the new releases of the W3C Web of Things. Current OPC Foundation group activities are working on a solution how WoT Thing Descriptions can be used as a data model mapping service from non-OPC UA asset interfaces to OPC UA systems. This reduces the onboarding effort (e.g. of Modbus-based assets) and enables smooth use of asset data interfaces in the OPC UA address space. We see this as a big win for the manufacturing industry and another important step towards improving the interoperability of heterogeneous asset landscapes."
Stefan Hoppe, President, OPC Foundation
"The SIFIS-Home consortium is looking forward to the new W3C Web of Things standards. The SIFIS-Home project focused on proving that it is possible to have more awareness on the risks and hazards related to the deployment of connected devices in the Home environment. The Thing Description model proved to be the ideal match to deliver the additional information."
Luca Barbato, SIFIS-Home Consortium Member and Andrea Saracino, SIFIS-Home Project Coordinator