W3C Launches Web of Things Working Group for IoT Standardization and API Development

The W3C has launched a Web of Things Working Group to explore standardization among a growingly disparate market force. The Internet of Things (IoT) continues to pick up speed among industries across the board, and without a current standardization methodology, the W3C, among others, sees unhelpful fragmentation. As with most standardization efforts, W3C hopes the Working Group can help "reduce costs of development; lessen the risks to both investors and customers; and encourage exponential growth in the market for IoT devices and services."

"There are huge, transformative opportunities not only for mobile operators but for all businesses if we can overcome the fragmentation of the IoT," W3C CEO, Dr. Jeff Jaffe, recently commented. "As stewards of the Open Web Platform, W3C is in a unique position to create the royalty-free and platform-independent standards needed to achieve this goal."

The working group's mission was originally explored by the W3C's Web of Things Interest Group. The Interest Group identified a number of elements that have progressed far enough to develop into W3C Recommendations. Accordingly, the Working Group's Charter includes a four-pronged scope: Thing Description, Scripting API, Binding Templates, and Security and Privacy.

Thing Description:

"Semantic vocabularies for describing the data and interaction models exposed to applications, the choice of communications patterns provided by protocols, and Serialization formats suitable for processing on Resource-constrained devices and transmission over constrained networks."

Scripting API:

"Platform-independent application-facing API for Thing-to-Thing interaction and Thing lifecycle management."

Binding Templates:

"Example mappings from the abstract messages to specific common platforms and protocols in collaboration with the corresponding organizations."

Security and Privacy:

"Cross-cutting policies and mechanisms integrated into the other building blocks to describe and implement security and privacy policies to enable secure and safe interaction across different IoT platforms."

The Working Group will consider existing and emerging industry standards with a specific focus on cross-platform and cross-domain interoperability. The Thing Description is the keystone of the project scope, with the other elements supporting. The Scripting API provides standardized, simple access to the Thing Description from various programming languages for application development.

The Scripting API will include APIs for both the client and the server side of interactions. The API will include discovery for both local and remote cases. The Working Group aims to achieve this by abstracting aways details of discovery mechanisms. It will also include cross-platform security frameworks and operate independent of programming languages when possible. For more information on the Working Group or the Scripting API, visit the Charter.

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