ETSI launches new Group on Context Information Management: the role of FIWARE

 APIs, Blog, FIWARE Foundation, GEs, GSMA, IoT, NGSI, OASC, SmartCities  Comments Off on ETSI launches new Group on Context Information Management: the role of FIWARE
Jan 132017

ETSIthe European Telecommunications Standards Institute, has announced the creation of a new Industry Specification Group on cross-sector Context Information Management (ISG CIM) for IoT-enabled Smart Cities and also other verticals including Smart Industry and Smart Agriculture.

The group will focus its activities on developing the specifications for a common Context Information Management (CIM) API, Data Publication platforms and standard Data Models, in order to achieve and improve cross-sector interoperalibilty for smart applications, with FIWARE NGSI as starting point. This blogpost offers further information on the role of FIWARE within the works of this new group.

As CIM API, the abstract NGSI 9 and 10 interface specifications from OMA will be the starting point, with a RESTful binding for the protocol based on the FIWARE NGSIv2 API developed under the FIWARE initiative. Specifications of this binding are expected to evolve in order to bring support to Linked Data using JSON-LD for representing the semantics of context information and their interrelationships.

As the press release by ETSI states, “Data without context are meaningless. Every sensor measurement, every entry in a database, every tweet sent and every webcam video watched has its own context.” Information will not be really useful without its own context; a context that should be published and made available with the data. The ISG CIM will specify open standards for the context information management layer that accesses and updates information coming from different sources (IoT networks and information systems) thus enabling to implement a context-aware behaviour for smart applications and extending its interoperability.

“With the rapid development of technologies such as Big Data, semantic web, complex workflow or autonomous decision making, the need for interoperable context information is becoming huge”, says Lindsay Frost, convenor of ETSI ISG CIM.

Lindsay Frost explains how the newly launched group will aid to overcome this problem: “The ISG CIM will specify protocols running ‘on top’ of IoT platforms and allowing exchange of data together with its context, this includes what is described by the data, what was measured, when, where, by what, the time of validity, ownership, and others. That will dramatically extend the interoperability of applications, helping smart cities to integrate their existing services and enable new third-party services.”

These will be the topics addressed by ISG CIM in order to ensure interoperability of independent SW implementations, including Open Source implementations,

  • Definition of a standard API for Context Information Management, enabling close to real-time update and access to information coming from many different sources (not only IoT). Such an API will enable applications to perform updates on context, register context providers which can be queried to get updates on context, query information on current and historic context information and subscribe for receiving notifications on context changes.
  • Specifications to be fulfilled by Data Publication Platforms supporting open data publication, data privacy and/or authorization of access, including enablers for multi-party access contracts will be considered.
  • Cross-domain Context Information Models that will deal with the definition of the models that are common to several of the domains being targeted, together with the meta models, definition languages and processes needed for the specification, curation, publication and evolution of Context Information Models will be defined and applied.
  • Smart Cities Information Models, where the specific models for the Smart Cities domain will be defined.
  • Information Models targeting other specific domains besides Smart Cities (for example but not limited to Smart Agrifood, Smart Industry) will also be considered.

The starting members of the new Industry Specification Group (ISG) are Easy Global Market, IMEC, NEC, Orange and Telefonica. ETSI has initiated this new group together with the organisation Open & Agile Smart Cities (OASC). Soon, the FIWARE Foundation will also join the ISG as new ETSI member.  Beyond the initial focus of Smart Cities, the cross-sector approach will be transferable to applications developed for other vertical domains, such as Smart Agriculture and Smart Industry. With the goal of interoperate and to re-use as much existing work and knowledge as possible, the group will work closely with the ETSI SmartM2M technical committee and with oneM2M, the global standards initiative for M2M and the IoT (Internet of Things) of which ETSI is a founding member.

The ISG CIM work responds to the EU’s rolling plan on ICT standardisation which is part of its Digital Single Market strategy.
The creation of this group leverages promising results of the collaboration between FIWARE and other relevant actors such as TM Forum or GSMA.

The first meeting of the ISG CIM is planned to take place at the ETSI premises in Sophia Antipolis, France, on 9-10 February 2017. Regarding FIWARE, by July 2017, a preliminary version of the CIM API is expected. The final version of its specifications will be developed by November 2017. And, by September 2017, the first version of the standard Data Models would be available, thanks to the previous work in projects like CitySDK, or the joining effort of FIWARE and a group of OASC cities in collaboration with GSMA, regarding the definition of harmonized Data Models. This partnership has produced a first batch of Data Models that are fully compatible with NGSI.

Participation in the cross-sector group is open to all ETSI members as well as organizations who are not members, subject to signing ISG Agreements. For information on how to participate please contact
The full list of members and participants in ISG CIM is available at:


Assessing FIWARE GEs Quality

 APIs, Developers, Experimentation, GEs, NGSI  Comments Off on Assessing FIWARE GEs Quality
Sep 202016
Blue technology background with a bright piece.

FIWARE is rapidly moving from experimental to production environments in which the platform must scale in reliable and real workload conditions. This fact implies that all FIWARE GEris must work at an adequate quality, reliability and at performance level appropriate for these conditions. A dedicated activity has been launched in the framework of the initiative to analyze and assess the level of quality of each GE, providing diverse kind of reports and an assessment dashboard.

The quality is evaluated from different points of view:

  • Curation of GEs documentation (documentation testing), both inspecting the code and the accompanying documentation (installation manuals, user guidelines, and similar). The goal of this assessment is to support FIWARE users with high-quality support for installation, configuration and operation of FIWARE technology, thereby improving the FIWARE user experience in general.
  • Verification of the GE specification (functional testing), developing the appropriate test cases to assess if the GEs implementation corresponds to what is defined in the specification.
  • Assessment of performance, stability and scalability of GEs in operational environments, like under excessive workload (stress testing). Test scenarios are defined and executed such that limits of a GE under test are identified, and can be compared with reference levels. The goal of this assessment is to favor the applicability of FIWARE in purely commercial scenarios.

overallfunctionalThe testing of the documentation and verification has been done for all GE not deprecated in FIWARE Catalogue (28 in total). Three phases are required to complete the QA functional test process. The first phase verifies for each GE the completeness of documentation, the consistency of artefacts and the soundness of information.  The usability of documentation, by example, in case of installation manual is checked installing step by step the GE. In the second phase specific method calls verify the single APIs and the response correctness of each GEs. The last phase consists of functional verifications based on reference architectures integrating some GEs. As result a live dashboard collects and maintains the assessment information and GE owners are punctually requested to correct the encountered deficiencies. The 90% of the high priority GEs has passed successfully the documentation and verification tests. The medium and low priority GEs are above 70% of success but they are working on solving the issues

post-ges-2On the other hand, the stress testing has been performed only for those GEs most critical in terms of performance in the overall architecture. An iterative process and operative methodology have been put in place, obtaining after each iteration, a complete report with the measures obtained after stress test and analysis of the data. The reports are sent to the GE owners for considering improvements about performance and stability for next release. Three iterations will be achieved before end of September this year: one took place in February testing 9 GEs (Orion, Proton, Aeron, IDAS, Kurento, Wilma, KeyRock, Cepheus, Bosun); the second one in May testing new versions of these GEs; and final one due by September testing again a new updated version of these GEs plus two more identified (AuthZForce and Cygnus) and more frequent combination of GEs.

Once the first iteration of stress testing was conducted, a quality assurance expert was consulted for carrying out an independent assessment of the followed process and executed tests to produce an assessment of the achieved work. The main conclusions of his assessment were:

  • Important performance borders were identified
  • Robustness of use within bounds was shown
  • Documentation needs to be improved

According to this assessment, FIWARE GEs are fit for being released in a commercial operational environment with some adjustments. A new external independent assessment is currently being requested after second iteration. part of the overall testing process and based on the obtained results in the three aspects (documentation, verification and stress) above mentioned, an overall label of quality is granted to each GE. This global label represents the degree of quality of the GE by adopting the energy labelling system[1] used by EU for devices. Specific labels for each analyzed category (usability, reliability, efficiency, scalability, performance and stability) are also granted. Thus, in the Catalogue each GE will be labelled with a global label expanded by clicking of detailed labels map.

Now, after two phases in the process some overall conclusions can be stated. There exists a significant heterogeneity in the GEs quality, having more mature GEs and ready for market than others. There is still room for improvement in documentation and support for most of the GEs, which is currently in progress thanks to this activity. It can be also stated significant improvements in performance from first iteration to the second one, due to the following of recommendations in first iteration testing report by the GE responsible, which is also a demonstration of the value this activity can bring to FIWARE.

In near future, the main focus will be to enlarge number and type of tests and to automate the tests as much as possible, but in the meantime a set of guidelines have been created in order to be able to replicate all the conducted tests by anyone. All the tests and code are already public in FIWARE software repository and all the reports available through the FIWARE wiki.

For further information:

  • GitHub repository containing all docs (guidelines) and scripts (to run the tests) about non functional testing task (stress tests)
  • All the reports, up to date, in Docman, under Quality Assurance folder.
  • The FIWARE Quality Assurance chapter in our wiki.

[1] Figure under Common Creatives Share-Alike license by


 APIs, Big Data, Blog, Developers, IoT, NGSI  Comments Off on Towards
Sep 022016
Cyber space with hexadecimal code as digital background

In previous blog posts the benefits of NGSI version 2 have been described, as a harmonized API for IoT Big Data ecosystems and particularly for exposing real time context information. Harmonized APIs are a necessary but not sufficient condition to foster developer-friendly IoT Big Data Ecosystems, which enable building smart applications.
If data models are not harmonized, developers, in practice, get forced to change their application when porting it to another context (E.g. a different city).

Harmonizing data models means creating a shared vocabulary of terms and relationships that provide uniformity on the representation of different concepts: parking, public transport, weather… Harmonized APIs and data models, together, will enable the creation of smart applications that are portable at data level.

The FIWARE community has started an agile, implementation-driven process, to devise harmonized data models. Focusing initially on the smart city domain, the work is evolving on a daily basis and it is being registered on the documentation hosted in the related Github repository. Such documentation is currently written in markdown format and published to a readthedocs site.
There is also a landing page /data-models (to be redirected from, as per recommendations) which provides fast and convenient access to the different data models.
Such data models are published under the Creative Commons by Attribution License.

The design principles behind the FIWARE data models promote reuse, thus existing vocabularies, especially, have been adopted and leveraged. Other design principles are flexibility and simplicity, enabling a phased adoption by data providers and applications.

A first, draft version of the following models has already been provided:

  • Parking. They allow to model on street and off street parking areas. The data models reuse parts of the vocabulary defined by DATEX II

  • Waste Management. It is intended to model all the assets intervening on (municipal) waste management (containers, isles, etc.)

  • Streetlighting. They model urban streetlights and certain aspects of their controlling equipment

  • Civic Issue Tracking, leveraging the popular Open311 de facto standard to meet NGSIv2

  • Key Performance Indicators, to model performance measurements appropriately

  • Water Quality. Captures different observed measurements (ph, conductivity, etc.) about the quality of water in rivers and lakes, or water intended to human consumption

Other data models to be developed and documented are Weather, Environment, Alarms, Devices or Parks & Gardens. Contributions, in the form of Github pull requests, are encouraged.

It is noteworthy that, at the time of writing, different FIWARE community members and telco operators worldwide (with GSMA support) are starting to experiment in real applications with the referred data models. As a result, valuable feedback can be obtained in order to refine them. The final aim is to contribute these data models to standards organizations, industry associations (particularly GSMA) or global community-driven efforts (

José Manuel Cantera – Technological Expert. FIWARE Team

Tera Is Building Beeta using FIWARE to Solve the Fragmented IoT Home Energy Market

 Blog, IoT, NGSI, SmartCities  Comments Off on Tera Is Building Beeta using FIWARE to Solve the Fragmented IoT Home Energy Market
Aug 162016

Italian startup Tera is a knowledge-intensive SME that brings together years of expertise in data science and energy efficiency. Now Tera, is making use of the FIWARE architecture to create new products that harness and reduce the use of energy for business, individual households, and ‘prosumers’ (users with a small batch of photovoltaic cells often on their home roof or business).

Tera currently works with business and industry groups to conduct energy audits, and helps create custom solutions for business clients wanting to improve their energy efficiency, implement environmental monitoring or extend their smart industry opportunities.

This has given the Tera team unique expertise in web services infrastructure, hardware, wireless sensor networks and thermography. Tera is now using this expertise to enter the growing home energy management system market, which is expected to have a global market size of $3 billion within the next four years. To enter the market, Tera has built Beeta, a hardware and software product that acts as a ‘trusted advisor’ for managing energy information.

Currently, the home energy automation Internet of Things market is quite fragmented, making it difficult for households to understand what is really going on with their energy usage. Some products focus on smart thermostats and regulating the home temperature, products use different data protocols to process information, and many are unable to connect with each other to provide a global view of electricity consumption.

“When we receive energy bills, often we don’t know where is the point to slow down the bill, to save energy. How can we do it? We don’t know,” says Antonio Sacchetti, cofounder of Tera.

“But it is possible, if we first have the monitoring. And you can have this monitoring by means of a smart gateway, which is in our solution. This is able to communicate with meters, sensors, and actuators. The data is then sent to a cloud system, where we have an app so that we can involve citizens in monitoring what is happening.”

Beeta is a box with a thermostat, sensor for electric consumption monitoring, and PV storage monitoring hardware that links to a user interface with detailed analytics and alerts. Beeta can inform users of how to better manage their household electrics and encourages more responsible energy consumption. Tera estimates this can lead to savings of up to 200€ a year.

Maintaining optimum energy efficiency of photovoltaic (PV) cells is a key challenge in renewable energy systems. Households and businesses with their own photovoltaic system — which are typically 6 kW PV systems, for example — on average see an energy loss of 7% annually. This is where Beeta can offer an even greater advantage, helping create savings of an estimated €400€ per year, by more finely tuning a household’s energy consumptions by analyzing their behavior, suggesting new consumption patterns, and recommending energy storage solutions. In future, Tera hopes that Beeta will also link directly to appliances in the home, by automating tasks like switching appliances on and off and powering them into standby mode.

Behind the Beeta hardware, of course, is FIWARE architecture, making use of the Orion Context Broker, NGSI API, Cygnus and more.

Data to be analysed by Beeta can come from field sensors (e.g. temperature, humidity, presence/movement, air quality, smart meters, contact, brightness) or sent from actuators (e.g. window shutter, smart plug, 3 way valves, thermostatic valve). Beeta can understand a variety of standard protocols (such as ZigBee, Zwave, WiFi, and wired interfaces). This data is then sent (most of the time by 3G connection) to a remote cloud infrastructure (FIWARE GEs by NGSI format) which manages events and data (within Orion Context Broker GE) and allows context event processing based on specified rules and algorithms, and data storage. A graphical user interface providing alerts and feedbacks is available to encourage customer interaction.

Beeta is currently undergoing a pilot phase in Bari city in Italy, where it has been installed in private and public buildings and PV plants. The launch of Beeta on the European market is planned for the end of 2016 and early 2017.

FIWARE and the Smart City Focus: Transforming Communities into Engines of Growth

 Blog, myFIWAREstory, NGSI, Open Data, SmartCities, TM Forum  Comments Off on FIWARE and the Smart City Focus: Transforming Communities into Engines of Growth
Aug 112016

Cities keep growing, both as spaces determining the evolution of their surroundings and as the world’s main population concentrations. Being a complex environment and generating a social organization around it, each city can show adaptive behaviors that, taken into consideration globally, will give us the main trends in the development of urban communities for the next years.
Nowadays, being or becoming “smart” has emerge as a strong motto for our cities to follow, as they –and we– want to keep improving the quality of our lives.

But a single community can’t achieve the Smart City status on its own. The adoption of common standards and information models, as well as a collaborative focus that understands the common nature of the problems and challenges faced by the citizenship and by the administrations, are both cardinal points in the path that leads to a sustainable development of each community, to the deployment of the services that the community require and to keep advancing to reach the goal of turning a city into an enabler for innovation, economic growth and well-being.

In many previous posts, news and events, we have been sharing the strong value proposition that FIWARE is offering for the city representatives and institutions and for the inhabitants of urban communities worldwide. And, even more important, linking both dimensions of the Smart City focus.
FIWARE has been enabling the co-creation of innovative, portable and interoperable digital products and services and engaging public administrations and private developers to collaborate and deliver the ICT solutions and context-aware applications that best suit the needs of each community, moving on towards a Digital Single Market for smart cities.

The support that our Open Source platform has been providing to the Open and Agile Smart Cities (OASC) initiative and the increasing number of relevant partnerships, like the one subscribed with TM Forum, has pushed FIWARE to become not only the “de facto” standard for cities joining the OASC, but also the key for third-party developers and data providers to profit from this smart revolution and to incorporate and stimulate a new and sustainable digital economy which is becoming a reality now.

We are now proudly sharing our digital brochure, presenting our value proposition and important partnerships around and for the smart urban communities. You can read or download it here.

Also, be invited to check out again our My FIWARE Story about the OASC Initiative.

And don’t miss the video showcasing the result of the collaborative framework between FIWARE and TM Forum through a real-time context data enriched car navigation system, with the collaboration of Ubiwhere and HERE maps.

 Posted by at 12:43 pm

FIWARE NGSI version 2 Release Candidate

 APIs, Blog, Developers, Experimentation, NGSI  Comments Off on FIWARE NGSI version 2 Release Candidate
Jun 082016
Earth globe night view with connect lines on deep blue space background.

The FIWARE NGSI version 2 API has reached the release candidate status. That means that we consider the current specification quite stable and mature, although there are still open issues. However, we expect that the resolution of those issues will not affect the main design principles and backbone of the API. Meanwhile, Orion Context Broker 1.2.0, released at the beginning of June, fully implements such version of the API.

If you are a developer probably you are wondering whether you should start using this brand new API. The answer is undoubtedly ‘yes’. Why? Because it makes your life easier, but at the same time opens up a new world of possibilities. The advantages of NGSI version 2 can be outlined in three bullet points:

  • Simplified payloads. NGSI version 2 has defined simpler JSON payloads. That means less lines of code to parse the NGSI messages. We have removed unneeded envelops and now data can be consumed straightforwardly. Furthermore, different payload flavours (normalized, keyValues, values) allow to build different kinds of clients. Notifications and subscriptions are now easier than ever.

  • RESTful approach. NGSI version 1 was based on HTTP POST for all operations, whereas NGSI version 2 fully adopts REST, and all the semantics of the HTTP protocol: GET for querying data, POST for adding data, PATCH for updating data and DELETE for removing data.

  • Powerful queries. A query language has been added to the API allowing to filter and sort data by different criteria, including geographical relationships such as intersection or coverage. Furthermore entity’s location can be now represented by different geometries (point, polygon, line), encoded as GeoJSON or as an encoding similar to GeoRSS.

Probably you are eager to know more about the API and start doing hands-on work with it. The good news is there is now plenty of documentation and tutorials. A good starting point is the FIWARE Tour Guide. Then you can continue reading the NGSI version 2 cookbook and playing with the data offered by the Tour Guide Application. Last but not least this presentation can enable you to master the API. Documentation is, as usual, at readthedocs. Support is provided through the Stackoverflow (tag fiware-orion) and askbot channels.

But what happens with NGSI version 1? NGSI version 1 is here to stay. Interoperability between different FIWARE enablers still depends on it, thus we plan to maintain and fix version 1 bugs. However no new features will be added to such version.

And what are the plans for fully releasing NGSI version 2? That should happen by the end of the year. One major feature that will be added to the final specification is support for context registrations and linked data. The latter will introduce another encoding called JSON-LD, already used by browser vendors and the initiative.

The last thing to say is that it has been a long journey since we started the NGSI version 2 effort one year ago. Congratulations to all the team (specially the development engineers) for the effort and enthusiasm demonstrated during these months. Now it is time to enjoy and to create amazing applications for the smart world!

José Manuel Cantera – Technological Expert. FIWARE Team

 Posted by at 12:09 pm

FIWARE enables Seville IPv6 Smartcity Pilot

 Blog, Developers, IoT, NGSI, SmartCities  Comments Off on FIWARE enables Seville IPv6 Smartcity Pilot
May 232016
IPv6 new internet protocol

Last week, the specialized media and several technological blogs published a exciting new, It was an invitation to discover Seville IPv6 Smartcity Pilot, also pointing at the benefits and challenges of this IPv6 end-to-end solution, its technical details around Cellular Connectivity and summarizing other references linked to this proyect in today's global Smart City market.

The present post extends the information published last week.

Perhaps you’ve heard how well-known digital products such as Google search, Facebook or LinkedIN are offering their services natively over the IPv6 Internet.

Moreover, both LinkedIN and Facebook are deploying IPv6-only datacenters where and they have reported up to 40% increase on users Access to their services, a key parameter for any digital product User ipv6 foto1
Additionally, from June 1st 2016 onwards, Apple is asking all App developers IPv6-only scenarios compliance as a mandatory requirement for IOS9.2 in the Applestore.

post ipv6 foto2
In this post we describe how FIWARE has enabled an IPv6 end-to-end solution in the whole value chain of a given Smartcity Pilot.

In this pilot the following partners have participated:

  • Seville City Hall: Providing Access to the physical infrastructures to carry out this innovation action.
  • Adevice: a spanish vendor providing IPv6 compliant IoT devices, local network and gateways.
  • FIWARE: providing the opensource IoT Agent and NGSI Context Information bróker components.
  • Telefónica: providing IPv6-enabled 3G/4G SIMs and deploying and operating a FIWARE -based IPv6 Smartcity platform instance at FIWARE Lab datacenter at Rediris (Spanish NREN) IPv6-enabled facilities.

As an outcome of this pilot first phase, the city hall is now able to monitor the water quality and leaks, the engine status and environmental parameters of public fountain at the Plaza de España, one of the most well-known touristic spots in Seville.

post ipv6 foto3
¿Which are the benefits and challenges of this IPv6 end-to-end solution?

The following table describes the advantages and tasks as obtained during the first phase of Seville IPv6 Smartcity pilot.
post ipv6 foto4

Note: in the previous table, challenges in green color have been already address while others will be fulfilled shortly.

Technical Details: solution architecture

The following picture depicts where IPv6 has been enabled so far:

post ipv6 foto5
Following activities include: delivering IPv6 usage to the local IoT network by means of IETF 6LOWPAN standard. This will extend the simple and peer-to-peer communication model met today for gateways down to the IoT end devices as well.

Additionally, an IPv6-enabled dashboard is being worked out in order to meet as soon as possible the benefits and challenges of an IPv6-only solution/datacenter.

Technical Details: IPv6 Cellular Connectivity

Following 3GPP standards, in the IPv6 cellular network a terminal is provided not with a single IP address but a total of 264 public IPv6 addresses (an IPv6 /64 prefix).

The following diagram shows the IPv6 prefix assignment process configured in the network elements (GGSN/PGW) by the Technology and engineering teams of Telefónica in Spain.
post ipv6 foto6
The mechanism includes two phases where initially a random Interface ID is provided to the terminal. Later on the terminal executes the SLAAC (IPv6 stateless autoconfiguration) process to get the same /64 prefix from the network element but being able to select a given Interface ID.

In order to test a working IPv6 SIM card, prior to the IoT gateway tests, we have used a Nexus5 terminal configuring an IPv6 capable APN and surfing to the “” webpage. post ipv6 foto7
Technical Details: IPv6 FIWARE-based platform

FIWARE LAB is deployed as a datacenter with more than 3,000 cores at Rediris. Rediris is the Spanish NREN (National Research and Education Network) connected to GEANT and other providers both with IPv4 and IPv6.

Normally, FIWARE is deployed over an OpenStack virtualization infrastructure which is IPv6 fully capable since “KILO” version onwards. However, for this pilot first phase, a standalone KVM environment has been used.

In target FIWARE IPv6 capable environment planned for this pilot is:

post ipv6 foto8
In the first phase the UL2.0 IoT Agent, the ContextBroker, security and Cygnus+Short Term Historics components have been deployed exposing IPv6 APIs.

If you are a developer or integrator you may test those components both in IPv4 or IPv6. The code, specs and full documentation of the components we used are available at:

post ipv6 foto9
Other references in today’s Smartcity/IoT global market

IoT business, and more concretely the Smartcity vertical, counts right today with the availability of commercial IPv6 products.

For instance, Silver Spring Networks (NYSE: SSNI) is enabling both IPv6 connectivity and platform solutions in the USA and other regions.
post ipv6 foto10
Regarding IoT physical devices, there exist multiple providers commercializing IPv6/6LOWPAN compliant products.

For instance, Thingsquare –known because their active role in the IoT OS ContikiOS- prvides IPv6-only hardware that connect natively to IPv6 platforms, while a protocol translation is needed for IPv4-only platforms.

post ipv6 foto11
Actually, there are more key IoT Products that are migrating to IPv6 based communications. For instance, Nest, the IoT provider acquired in Jan 2014 by Google for $3,200,000, has just announced  in May 2016 the adoption of the Open-Thread stack which is based on IPv6 and/or 6LowPAN comms.

post ipv6 foto12

Joaquin Cabezas (@joaquincabezas, COO, Adevice)
Carlos A. Pardo de Santayana (@caralfparsan, Movilforum, Telefónica)
Carlos Ralli Ucendo (@carlosralli,  Smartcities Global Product, Telefónica)

Equity, Participation and Opportunity at the Heart of a Smart City Data Economy

 APIs, Blog, IoT, NGSI, Open Data, SmartCities, TM Forum  Comments Off on Equity, Participation and Opportunity at the Heart of a Smart City Data Economy
May 062016
Display of Stock market quotes in shanghai,China

In tech and business circles, adding the word “economy” to anything is a bit like adding the word “artisanal” to a product description. It sounds impressive, but what does it actually mean? What do we mean when we say data economy? Is there a data economy now? What are the implications for industry? Cities? Citizens?

The “data economy” relates to all the building bricks and businesses that compose the whole value chain from the creation of data to the end user’s data usage, and the value that is created and shared (often measured in terms of money) along the way.

We have recently looked at how platform business models are changing the business landscape. In this emerging worldview, value is co-created by a business in collaboration with partners and even end-users. Businesses decreasingly create final products and services to be consumed as they were made, and instead a business opens up the components that make up a product or service. Partners or end users mix those components together and add external components from other sources, to create the product they need.

FIWARE’s infrastructure components, including the NGSI API and many of its generic enablers, are a good example of this platform model and its component approach. Startups and enterprises are able to use FIWARE components — like data storage, compute processing, realtime data feeds, big data analytics, and other services — in the order needed to create a new generation of applications and digital technologies.

As this infrastructure is taken up by industries as diverse as agriculture, manufacturing, transport and logistics, utilities and energy, and city management, it becomes clear how complex our social and industrial ecosystems are, making things like smart city initiatives difficult to implement.

With so many stakeholders involved, a smart city system connecting all elements must be able to collect the data and services needed at the right time to create value for citizens, communicate effectively with various actors and attribute resource usage and costs along a usage path.

Where this sort of system works effectively, it is called a dynamic value chain.

The inability for a smart city system to do this effectively inhibits innovation and prevents startups and smaller providers from participating, as they are unable to ensure that their contribution will be recognized in such a large and complex system of interconnections. This can have an impact on equality of opportunity and local economic development, as newer businesses find it difficult to participate and earn their share from the contribution they provide.

So a smart city dynamic value chain needs to be a platform that can:

  • Identify and collate data and services from multiple suppliers

  • Compose them in the right order

  • Expose them to end users when needed; and

  • Share the revenue accordingly from the value created through the system.

In some cases, this could mean end users paying for an app and then using a particular data set. In other examples, it could mean data or services that help city authorities or businesses to reduce costs or create efficiencies (which is an even more complex revenue sharing model to define in a smart city ecosystem).

It is not just smart cities that are struggling with how to create the infrastructure and participatory model that enables a dynamic value chain. It is becoming increasingly common amongst platform business models that rely on external data providers to contribute value to their ecosystem.

There is a platform called Blockspring, for example, that helps end users to create simple spreadsheets using APIs. Users can build spreadsheets that automatically add in data from APIs, so end users do not need programming skills to gain value from an API. Blockspring charges users to access the platform, and it is kind-of an economic multiplier for the API providers included in the Blockspring catalog. They don’t share revenue with these data providers directly, but Blockspring end users who want to make use of the spreadsheet tools will need to sign up with the API providers and pay for the API usage when data is pulled in to their spreadsheets. It is a simple way to get around what could be a more complex model, but leaves several ecosystem partners outside of this economy. For example, what if someone is very good at making spreadsheet tools and wants to monetize the templates they create using Blockspring? There is no marketplace for these stakeholders (enablers) at present.

Algorithmia is another platform with a programmable business model. They offer a marketplace for machine learning algorithms that can be added to a larger process by API. They have a more sophisticated revenue sharing model, where developers who create predictive and other machine learning algorithms can share them on the platform. When end users make use of an algorithm, the developer gets paid a share of revenue whenever the algorithm carries out a processing task. The platform also offers a way for businesses to ask for specific machine learning algorithms and can set prices for what they need so developers with expertise can share their knowledge.

Again, this is an emerging marketplace, so not everyone is incentivized to participate in this economy. If an end user wants to take the algorithm and use it in their internal business processes, Algorithmia needs to connect the developer and end user manually, rather than enabling any automated system. This can reduce the opportunity to scale solutions effectively. Imagine if a city’s bike rental scheme wanted to use an algorithm that calculated how to most efficiently restock empty bike racks. A startup that was offering this type of machine learning algorithm might end up facing an overwhelming number of private requests to run that algorithm at individual cities, which would limit the startup’s ability to scale effectively to meet demand. At present, the Algorithmia service is also focused on sharing machine learning tools. But what about large datasets that you could apply those tools to? There is no marketplace as such yet, for data providers to earn revenue in this ecosystem by sharing their data for other machine learning uses.

Blockspring and Algorithmia are exciting examples of what is possible by focusing on how to foster a data economy. Meanwhile, community members are calling out for other service providers to follow this leadership. A tweet last week from @hichaelmart asked:

“Soooo, when's AWS gonna build a Lambda Marketplace? ie an AMI marketplace equivalent, where lambda authors earn X% every time it's invoked?”

This is exactly the sort of question that will become more prominent in a data economy for the Internet of Things and smart cities.

This year, FIWARE and TM Forum have been working in collaboration to foster the data economy, where everyone can contribute by opening up their data, building applications, or providing services.

An economy of data ecosystem acknowledges various actors and values their contributions. This can include:

  • Publishers: Data providers who share their data for free or for a fee. This could be an exciting equity opportunity for individual citizens as well. Imagine a future where you received some credits for contributing data and insights to a crowd-sourced data sharing platform.

    Already, a lot of personal data is collected by third parties, whether that be health data through wearables, social media insights, or transport usage data. Imagine a future where citizens can opt-in to share that data with others in an anoymized form. The individual is empowered to own their personal data and can sell it back to other actors in the data economy. Perhaps for doing so, they receive a financial “dividend”, although we imagine this dividend would be quite small for an individual’s data contribution, but perhaps instead, the user could receive some additional free access to the product, or a more personalized set of features from a service provider because they are sharing their data. A data economy that can measure the value generated in a dynamic value chain can better attribute that value to the various actors within the system.

  • Users: Developers, citizens and community groups can better create services and tools with open data. A thriving data economy that can recognize individual contributions is a self-fulfilling and knowledge generating ecosystem. By being able to recognize and better value contributions, a data economy encourages participation and active learning.

  • Enablers: Open data and tools like FIWARE’s NGSI API still require a certain level of skill. A bit like how Blockspring users can create spreadsheets that make APIs accessible to non-programmers, there will be a need for service providers and professionals who are able to train, build templates for others, and advise on the rich opportunities available for using open data. Some of these enablers will be subject knowledge experts who are able to help users discover what datasets are even available, while others may be able to create templates that add a valuable perspective, such as the ability to add an equity lens that measures the equality-generating opportunities (or inequality widening risks) of a smart city initiative.

The following infographic ilustrates how the partnership between TM Forum and FIWARE is
enabling an economy of data in the smart cities. Click on the image to see it full size:

FIWARE & TM FORUM: SHAPING CITIES AND THEIR ECONOMIESWith the FIWARE and TM Forum collaboration, FIWARE has built a composable infrastructure of tools such as the NGSI API which enables realtime data sharing collected from IoT devices, open datasets, sensors, and other sources. TM Forum has created a fabric of business system APIs that enable participation in this emerging data economy.

Data providers can use FIWARE’s NGSI API to make their data available to others. The TM Forum APIs then help onboard those data providers to be recognized in the ecosystem, and to share their data with application developers, cities, and other businesses. Their suite of business APIs can then track when that data is requested to be used by other actors, create agreements between the parties, calculate revenue to be shared, and make payments whenever that data is used. Thanks to our collaboration, this is a “smart contract” model where the whole complex web of interactions in this workflow are automated.

Next week, FIWARE will be participating in TM Forum Live in Nice, France, where we will be hearing from cities around the world who already have a need for the infrastucture and fabric of a data economy in order to make their smart city systems more inclusive, economically viable, and participatory. We are excited to see the potential that can be realized now that a data economy is truly possible.