The "Internet of Things" promises to enable greater connectivity for use by utilities, healthcare services, intelligent transportation, and more. Now, a Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) standard has emerged as a foundation for the future of both the Internet of Things and machine-to-machine (M2M) technologies. Known as the TIA-4940 Smart Device Communications Reference Architecture, this standard addresses the common requirements and interoperability needs of essential intelligent/smart devices across industries.

The specification will work across both wired and wireless transport layers. To enable M2M communications, it plans to take advantage of Internet-Protocol (IP) -enabled applications covering different types of vertical markets. The standard takes into account the following: security (e.g., data content, authentication, and signaling); end-to-end performance and scalability of equipment and networks; and device management (including discovery and identity).

The TR-50 Smart Device Communications Engineering Committee also has created a Security Ad-Hoc Group to analyze threats that may be posed by M2M services and assess how they can be mitigated effectively. The group is being chaired by Chuck Bokath of the Georgia Tech Research Institute. Copies of TIA-4940 are available for purchase at global.ihs.com.