ITU-T Update: Internet of Things, Cloud Computing Security and Software Defined Networking (SDN)

Latest Technology Watch Report: spatial standards for the IoT

ITU-T’s latest Technology Watch report introduces readers to location (spatial) standards and their role in enabling the Internet of Things, describing how communications infrastructure has increased people’s associations with the natural and built environment as well as how this can be leveraged to improve governance and service delivery by revealing new insights into how we interact with one another and the services and infrastructures that surround us.

Authored by staff and members of the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC), with support from ITU-T, the report is titled “ Location matters: Spatial standards for the Internet of Things” and can be downloaded free of charge here.

The report discusses the technologies and standards emerging in support of location-based services (LBS), analyzing shortfalls in interoperability and highlighting where global standardization can tap the full potential of these fast-maturing technologies and the valuable data they return.

Spatial standards’ role in the marketplace is critiqued with a view to uncovering clear trends or market drivers, and readers will discover that location matters in a wide range of sectors, with examples being made of emergency and disaster management and response; smart infrastructure; smart water management; and, of course, transportation.

The report goes on to describe the spatial standards landscape, looking at the activities of the involved standardization bodies and concluding with an analysis of the greatest obstacles to be overcome in the spatial standards arena.

New ITU standards on cloud computing security & digital object architecture

ITU members have agreed new international standards (ITU-T Recommendations) outlining security considerations essential to cloud computing and, crucial to the long-term preservation and utility of IP-based resources, a ‘framework for the discovery of identity management information’ to enable interoperability across heterogenous information systems.

Recommendation ITU-T X.1600 “Security framework for cloud computing”, having reached first-stage approval (‘determined’) and now undergoing a final review, describes security threats in the cloud computing environment and, through a framework methodology, matches threats with the security capabilities advised to be specified in mitigating them. ITU-T X.1600 will act as a ‘handbook’ guiding the future standardization of identified threat-mitigation techniques; in addition providing an implementation reference for systems-level cloud security.

Recommendation ITU-T X.1255 “Framework for the discovery of identity management information”, approved and soon to be freely available on ITU’s website, details an open architecture framework in which identity management (IdM) information – identifying ‘digital objects’ and enabling information sharing among entities including subscribers, users, networks, network elements, software applications, services and devices – can be discovered, accessed and represented by heterogenous IdM systems representing IdM information in different ways, supported by a variety of trust frameworks and employing different metadata schemas.

ITU-T X.1255 lays out a framework that enables discovery of identity-related information and its provenance; identity-related information attributes, including but not limited to visual logos and human-readable site names; and attributes and functionality of applications. The framework, in addition, describes a data model and protocol to enable meta-level interoperability in the management of this information across heterogeneous IdM environments.

The Recommendation is a first step towards the Digital Object Architecture (DOA) advocated by the Corporation for National Research Initiatives (CNRI), which is intended to achieve the “universal information access” possible with uniquely identifiable digital objects structured so as to ensure their machine and platform independence.

For a succinct description of the history, motivation and promise of the DOA, see Peter J. Denning & Robert E. Kahn, “The Long Quest for Universal Information Access”, Communications of the ACM, Vol. 53 No. 12, Pages 34-36.

The new Recommendations were agreed at a meeting of ITU-T Study Group 17 (Security) in Geneva, 26 August to 04 September, which also saw the establishment of three new work items, on: •high-speed Abstract Syntax Notation (ASN.1) Octet Encoding Rules (OER) needed by the financial services sector to gain milliseconds on the trading floor; •updating the Cryptographic Message Syntax (CMS) to eliminate all obsolete ASN.1 features in the interests of making the CMS usable with all ASN.1 standardized encoding rules; and, •new challenges for Public-Key Infrastructure (PKI) standardization presented by mobile networks, machine-to-machine (M2M) communication, cloud computing and smart grid.

More information on the work of ITU-T Study Group 17 can be found at:

SDN Activities:

ITU-T SG 13 Chairman Chae Sub Lee explains the importance of ITU’s work on Software Defined Networks (in Korean with English subtitles): 

ITU-T work on SDN can be accessed through their new SDN portal:

“SDN is considered a major shift in networking technology which will give network operators the ability to establish and manage new virtualized resources and networks without deploying new hardware technologies. ICT market players see SDN and network virtualization as critical to countering the increases in network complexity, management and operational costs traditionally associated with the introduction of new services or technologies. SDN proposes to decouple the control and data planes by way of a centralized, programmable control-plane and data-plane abstraction. This abstraction will usher in greater speed and flexibility in routing instructions and the security and energy management of network equipment such as routers and switches.”

ITU-T’s SDN standardization work began during the 2009-2012 study period in ITU-T Study Group 13 (Future networks including cloud computing, mobile and NGN),  and the 2013-2016 study period kicked-off with marked emphasis on SDN in response to the directive issued by WTSA-12. ITU-T Study Group 11 (Signalling requirements, protocols and test specifications) is tasked with developing signalling requirements and protocols for SDN, and this work aligns with the functional requirements and architectures developed by SG13.

ITU-T’s 8 Sept 2013 Workshop agenda presentations- on IMT, M2M, IoT, Cloud Computing and SDN – can be downloaded from:
Note: NEC’s SDN presentation is in a MSFT PowerPoint Wizard file format some versions of PPT can’t open.