Data without context are meaningless. Taken away from its context, each piece of information is nearly useless. And software programs/agents searching for useful information may only find it if the context is available, that is published with the data. A Context Information Management (CIM) system acts as a clearing-house for publishing, discovering, monitoring and maintaining data according to relevant contexts for smart applications.

Hence ETSI has created an Industry Specification Group on cross-sector Context Information Management (ISG CIM) for smart cities applications and beyond.

ISG CIM will focus on developing specifications for a common context information management API, data publication platforms and standard data models. The group will work closely with the ETSI SmartM2M technical committee and with oneM2M, the global standards initiative for M2M and the IoT of which ETSI is a founding member, since the IoT is one of the sources of context data for smart applications.

Need for 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”, said Lindsay Frost, convenor of ETSI ISG CIM. “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.”