We are making great strides in our academic outreach and digital twin capabilities for oneM2M


September 2023 - In this interview, Roland Hechwartner summarizes the latest developments from oneM2M’s recent Technical Plenary #61. Roland is the Chair for oneM2M’s Technical Plenary (TP) and responsible for the coordination of the overall management of the technical work within the TP and its Working Groups (WGs). He is a representative of Deutsche Telekom (DT).

Q: Would you begin with an overview of the key developments at TP61?

RH: TP61 took place in the USA where our host was Pennsylvania State University or Penn State, as it is commonly known. Bob Flynn (Exacta) was instrumental in organizing the venue on an initiative he planned a year ago. While we were there, participants of TP61 were invited to visit the facilities of Penn State.

In addition to our usual structure of working group (WG) activities, we used some of the time for TP61 work on the oneM2M’s Academic Relations Group and to discuss progress on a digital twin project that is underway as an ETSI Specialist Task Force initiative.

Before getting into the details, I would like to congratulate Bob Flynn who was elected as the Chair of the Testing & Developers Ecosystem WG.

Q: Let us begin with the ACademic Relations (ACR) Group. How is that initiative progressing?

RH: The original convener of this group was Andrew Min-gyu Han who passed away earlier this year, so a big part of the discussion was about a new convenor to take over. One suggestion from our members’ discussions was to scale up the initiative and have one convenor per region. The election process resulted in the following three choices:

  • Professor Luigi Liquori, INRIA (France) volunteered to act as the convenor from Europe.
  • Professor Kwanghyun Ro, Hansung University (South Korea) volunteered to act as the convenor from Korea.
  • Professor Kyusun Choi, Penn State University (USA) volunteered to act as the convenor from North America.

There followed a member discussion about the main objectives of the ACR. This resulted in the following additions to the ACR’s Terms of References (ToR):

  • promote teaching and research about the oneM2M standard.
  • establish close connections & partnerships between groups in academia involved in oneM2M applications and facilitate the emergence of new ones.
  • increase awareness of oneM2M standards in academia at large.
  • foster development of oneM2M-based applications and implementations.
  • foster development of open-source implementations by academia.

During the meeting, Prof. Choi provided a talk and insights into “How Penn State University has participated in and used oneM2M so far”. He drew attention to activities such as the university’s Senior CAPSTONE Projects as well as student participation in the oneM2M International HACKATHONs. Prof. Choi also spoke about ongoing projects and activities as well as plans for future collaborations.

The next steps for the ACR are to conduct a final review of the ToR and to discuss how to collaborate with universities and academia by setting mid- and long-term goals. Members and academic bodies outside of oneM2M are welcome to contribute to the agenda and join in the next conference call gathering for which dates are under discussion.

Let me add that there is a dedicated area on the members portal where documents can be uploaded and shared. In the spirit of open collaboration, all documents on the portal are copied over to the publicly available FTP area so that non-members have access to them.

Q: The ETSI ‘digital twin’ project seems highly complementary to oneM2M’s Resource Tree concept. What can you tell us about that initiative?

RH: Yes, a oneM2M Resource Tree maps out the relationships between entities in an IoT system so the analogy with a digital twin is correct. The full title of the ETSI project presented at TP#61 is the ETSI TC SmartM2M STF 628: Digital Twin Modelling, Interoperability and Standardization Opportunities.

Massimo Vanetti of the Small Business Standards association provided a status update on the technical work which consists of two technical tasks. The first deals with the “Analysis, Use Cases and Requirements for Digital Twins in IoT”. The second task focuses on the “Standardization of functionalities, communication reference architecture and guidelines for Digital Twins”. These tasks will result in a generic Digital Twins reference architecture as well as an instantiation of such a general solution in the oneM2M context. In effect, these tasks include the preparation of a technical solution to be exported into oneM2M.

After the technical work is finished, there will be a third task covering the dissemination of outputs towards oneM2M and other associations/fora representing potential stakeholders of the proposed standard.

Q: Information dissemination seems to be an important component of the standardization process.

RH: Yes, I have spoken about our various outreach efforts in the past, especially towards the developer community. In addition to these, there are more structured efforts with other industry bodies, typically taking the form of Liaison Statements (LSs). In fact, during TP#61, members agreed a reply to the LS on the new version 2.0 standards roadmap of the ITU-T’s Joint Coordination Activity on IoT and Smart Cities and Communities (JCA-IoT and SC&C). The initial Liaison Statement came from the ITU-T Study Group 20.

In our reply LS, oneM2M provides input to the standards roadmap. In particular, we directed the JCA-IoT and SC&C to the Release 3 and Release 4 of oneM2M’s technical specifications.

We provided an informational link to Release 5 as work is still underway to study and then specify functionalities in several new areas. These include the enablement of AI and ML, the support of Data Protection Regulations as well as the support of Data License Management, Advanced Semantic Discovery, Enhanced Public Warning Service Enabler, and we expect work on Digital Twins.

The link to the Release 5 drafts is provided for information only as our members expect to make significant changes before formal publication.

Q: You usually provide an update on the TP working group activities. What were the key developments in those areas?

RH: Going in oneM2M’s work-flow order, I will begin with the Requirements & Domain Models (RDM) working group, chaired by Massimo Vanetti (representing SBS). There was an update of the Meta-IoT work item description with an adjusted timeline and agreement on new rapporteurs. The WG also held an initial discussion on a proposal by JiHo Lee, JiEun Lee and Prof. JaeSeung Song all from Sejong University, of a new use case involving the use of blockchain via oneM2M. This proposal will introduce a use case, describing how blockchain technology can be used via oneM2M without going as far as to introduce new functionality to oneM2M. There will be further coverage of the work in one of the next meetings.

Peter Niblett (representing IBM) chaired with System Design & Security (SDS) working group and reported on progress with Release 5 versions of the specifications. Members approved the addition of new functionality to Release 5 as well as corrections to earlier releases. These changes appear in TS-0001 “Functional Architecture”, TS-0004 “Service Layer Core Protocol Specification”, TS-0022 “Field Device Configuration”, TS-0026 “3GPP Interworking”, TS-0033 “Interworking Framework” and TS-0034 “Semantics Support” documents. There was also progress on two technical reports, TR-0065 which deals with a “Study of Sensor Things API Interworking” and, TR-0071 on AI/ ML dataset management.

The final WG in the sequence is the Testing & Developers Ecosystem (TDE) WG whose sessions were chaired by the newly elected chair, Bob Flynn (representing Exacta). Members agreed a new work item on “Interoperability testing for Release 5” and an update on the work item for Meta-IoT, to adjust the milestone plan. The working group also discussed and proceeded with the conversion to markdown of existing documents, so that these can be developed via the GitLab tool. There is an invitation for members working on new deliverables to start their documents from scratch on the new tool.

There was also a discussion on a proposal to make use of open data for oneM2M hackathon events. This should reduce much of the effort of setting up sensors and allow more focus on the use of oneM2M which will help to reinforce the learning effects of why standards are important for interoperability.

Q: In closing, what are the plans for the next TPs?

RH: Our next event, TP62 will be hosted in Japan by ARIB and TTC. This will be a hybrid event and held between 4 and 8 December. After that, TP63 will be another hybrid event in February 2024 and hosted by the Federal Network Agency for Electricity, Gas, Telecommunications, Post and Railways (BNetzA) in Mainz, Germany.