Laurent Velez travels the world promoting the simple but powerful idea that if you’re smart about smart cities and the Internet of Things, you need to be serious about standardisation.

He has been a technical expert in the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) for more than a decade and promotes the oneM2M standard for the Internet of Things (IoT).

He visited the SMART Infrastructure Facility last week to run the oneM2M Hackathon where 50 students spent two days developing IoT solutions that are not only smart, but which connect and work seamlessly with other solutions to contribute to the future-proofing of digital technology used in cities.

The hackathon aimed to imagine new applications that a smart city could offer its local residents, businesses and council managers based on interoperability and future proofing principles, using the international oneM2M standard.

Laurent Velez

“When you deploy the technology for smart cities, you do it for many years,” he said.

“If you choose the standard, it means that you can communicate between technologies and you can choose between vendors.

“If you are not satisfied with one vendor, you can choose another and you are not locked in to one technology.

“If you follow the standard, you can evolve your network seamlessly and you don’t end up wasting large amounts of money.”

Velez runs hackathons, similar to the SMART event in countries where the oneM2M standard is accepted such as Europe, the US, Japan, China, India and South Korea.

He explains that IoT deployments are complex because they typically involve a diverse collection of different vertical centric sub-systems and platforms.

Typically, many of these sub-systems have standalone platforms that do not communicate with one another.

So, for example, the systems used for smart energy may use entirely different underlying technologies to the systems for smart transport or smart buildings, yet there are obvious advantages to networking all of these areas into a single entity.

oneM2M standardisation creates underlying network connectivity and hides the complexity of these different systems from the various stakeholders.

“At the moment, areas such as smart transport, smart energy or smart buildings are in silos,” Velez says.

“If you break down those values, you share data and you add value.”

Among the many benefits of using oneM2M is the fact that 240 companies have contributed and it is managed by eight of the main ICT standardisation bodies in the world.

“Because it is independent of the protocol that transports it, it’s designed to be a long-term solution for IoT deployment,” he says.

“The vision is to abolish any fragmentation in IoT and make our smart cities truly smart.”