Open data models and open source mesh networks for smarter cities

Author: Nicola Crespi, Chief Innovation Officer at Paradox Engineering


Interoperability is paramount for truly smart cities. We have been widely discussing how important it is for a city to rely on openness and get rid of proprietary technologies and data formats [read our white paper to learn more].

When cities and utilities design an interoperable urban infrastructure, they typically look at existing IoT international connectivity standards such as LoRaWan, NB-IoT or WI-SUN: good starting point, but they should be aware these standards only deal with the network layer and the messaging protocol of the IoT solution, so they won’t provide any specify data model or application payload for urban use cases.

The result is, in most occurrences the solution provider goes back to a proprietary data model or application layers, and the customer is locked to its technology and need to chase expensive API integrations.

That’s the key reason for Paradox Engineering and MinebeaMitsumi joining the uCIFI Alliance. We have always been advocating open standards and are committed to create multi-supplier, open solutions for Cities and other smart environments.

Today we are leading uCIFI’s Technical Working Group and we contributed to the public release of the first unified data model for cities and utilities – a significant step forward to ensure full interoperability between IoT devices connected to the same network. A common data model allows connected devices from one vendor to be replaced by equivalent equipment from a third party without requesting any software integration.

The uCIFI Data Model leverages the Open Mobile Alliance’s Light Weight M2M (LwM2M) registry to describe smart devices (reference objects) and their attributes (resources) to unlock the true potential of Open Cities with reduced costs and a superior guarantee of investments’ sustainability. Our solution has successfully passed the interoperability tests for LWM2M implementation during the 2021 OMW Virtual TestFest.

Moreover, the uCIFI Data Model makes it easy for suppliers adopting uCIFI on their products and devices to become TALQ compliant and get related certifications.

What’s next? We are working with uCIFI on the open source mesh network. The mission here is to define and provide an open-source mesh reference implementation that standardizes the smart city application layers on top of any 6LoWPAN/Wi-SUN certified mesh network.

Smart city applications may have specific user cases and requirements in terms of data bandwidth, device reachability and commissioning, device-to-device communication in outdoor spaces (ie. a presence detection sensor that increases the light level on a remote luminaire), but these application services are now implemented only by proprietary solutions on the market.

The goal of uCIFI is to standardize this smart city application layer on top of 6LoWPAN/Wi-SUN networks, defining the protocol and process to be used for the device and network commissioning, end-to-end security and device-to-device communication, thus guaranteeing a full end-to-end interoperability.


Want to learn more? Contact our expert Nicola Crespi!

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