The Internet of Things - Concept and Problem Statement

Versions: 00 01 02 03 04 05                                             
Internet Research Task Force                             Gyu Myoung Lee
Internet Draft                                         Institut TELECOM
Intended status: Informational                             Jungsoo Park
Expires: September 2011                                            ETRI
                                                              Ning Kong
                                                            Noel Crespi
                                                       Institut TELECOM
                                                         March 14, 2011

           The Internet of Things - Concept and Problem Statement

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   This document explains the concept of the Internet of Things and
   several characteristics of objects. In addition, this document
   investigates key technical issues and specifies problems for the IoT.
   Based on this, this document discusses a new architectural framework
   in order to solve problems.

Conventions used in this document

   The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
   document are to be interpreted as described in RFC-2119.

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Table of Contents

   1. Introduction ................................................ 4
   2. Concept of IoT .............................................. 4
      2.1. Basic concept of the IoT................................ 4
      2.2. Classification and characteristics of objects........... 6
      2.3. Purpose / applications.................................. 7
   3. Features of the IoT ......................................... 7
      3.1. Overall aspects......................................... 7
      3.2. Applications/services aspects........................... 7
      3.3. Networking aspects...................................... 7
      3.4. Link/physical layer aspects............................. 8
      3.5. Smart/connected objects aspects......................... 8
      3.6. Smart environment aspects............................... 8
   4. General issues .............................................. 8
   5. Problems .................................................... 11
      5.1. Identifier for objects and services..................... 11
      5.2. Object naming .......................................... 11
      5.3. Security/privacy/authority.............................. 12
      5.4. Presence (of people; of devices)........................ 13
      5.5. Geographic location (self identification of location)... 13
      5.6. Discovery/search........................................ 13
      5.7. Tracking and mobility support of mobile object.......... 14
      5.8. Data processing /computing.............................. 14
      5.9. Heterogeneous networking interfaces (IP and non-IP, etc) 14
      5.10. Global connectivity (IPv6) ............................ 15
      5.11. Scalability ........................................... 15
      5.12. Global interoperability ............................... 15
      5.13. Autonomics (self-configuring, intelligence for control) 15
      5.14. Constraint objects .................................... 15
      5.15. Coordination among many objects ....................... 16
      5.16. Web Services .......................................... 16
   6. Architectural implications .................................. 16
      6.1. Vertical vs. Horizontal ................................ 16
      6.2. Architectural considerations in the service perspective. 17
      6.3. Common infrastructure in the networking perspective..... 17
      6.4. Consolidated layered architecture for IoT .............. 18
    7. Security Considerations..................................... 18
   8. IANA Considerations ......................................... 18
   9. References .................................................. 18
      9.1. Normative References ................................... 18
      9.2. Informative References ................................. 19
   Appendix I: Case study on typical use cases of the IoT.......... 19
   Appendix II: Relationships with existing working groups in IETF. 20
   Author's Addresses ............................................. 20

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1. Introduction

   The Internet of Things (IoT) [1-3] is a novel paradigm that is
   becoming popular with research and industries. The basic idea is that
   IoT will connect objects around us (electronic, electrical, non
   electrical) to provide seamless communication and contextual services
   provided by them. Development of RFID tags, sensors, actuators,
   mobile phones make it possible to materialize IoT which interact and
   co-operate each other to make the service better and accessible
   anytime, from anywhere.
   There are so many applications that are possible because of IoT. For
   individual users, IoT brings useful applications like home automation,
   security, automated devices monitoring, and management of daily tasks.
   For professionals, automated applications provide useful contextual
   information all the time to help on their works and decision making.
   Industries, with sensors and actuators operations can be rapid,
   efficient and more economic. Managers who need to keep eye on many
   things can automate tasks connection digital and physical objects
   together. Every sectors energy, computing, management, security,
   transportation are going to be benefitted with this new paradigm.
   Development of several technologies made it possible to achieve the
   vision of Internet of things. Identification technology such as RFID
   allows each object to represent uniquely by having unique identifier.
   Identity reader can read any time the object allows real time
   identification and tracking. Wireless sensor technology allows
   objects to provide real time environmental condition and context.
   Smart technologies allow objects to become more intelligent which can
   think and communicate. Nanotechnologies are helping to reduce the
   size of the chip incorporating more processing power and
   communication capabilities in a very small chip.
   This document explains the concept of the Internet of Things and
   several characteristics of objects. In addition, this document
   investigates key technical issues and specifies problems for the IoT.
   The main objective of this document is to develop a new architectural
   framework in order to solve problems.

2. Concept of IoT

2.1. Basic concept of the IoT

   o Definition of the "IoT"

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      The "Internet of Things (IoT)" refers to the networked
      interconnection of everyday objects. An "IoT" means "a world-wide
      network of interconnected objects uniquely addressable, based on
      standard communication protocols" [5].

      Internet: The original "Internet" is based on the TCP/IP protocol
      suite but any network based on the TCP/IP protocol suite cannot
      belong to the Internet because private networks and
      Telecommunication networks are not part of the Internet even
      though they are based on the TCP/IP protocol suite. In the
      viewpoint of IoT, the "Internet" considers the TCP/IP suite and
      non-TCP/IP suite at the same time.

   o Definition and scope of "things"

      In the IoT, "things" are very various such as computers, sensors,
      people, actuators, refrigerators, TVs, vehicles, mobile phones,
      clothes, food, medicines, books, etc. These things are classified
      as three scopes: people, machine (for example, sensor, actuator,
      etc) and information (for example clothes, food, medicine, books
      and etc). These "things" should be identified at least by one
      unique way of identification for the capability of addressing and
      communicating with each other and verifying their identities. In
      here, if the "thing" is identified, we call it the "object."

   o Visions of IoT and Goals for new architecture/framework

      In terms of standardization, a new paradigm of IoT implies many
      visions depending on expertise of standardization bodies. Commonly
      we focus on the deployment of a new generation of networked
      objects with communication, sensory and action capabilities for
      numerous applications with a vision "from simple connected objects
      as sensor networks to more complex and smarter communicated
      objects as in the envisioned IoT" [6]. In the IETF/IRTF
      perspective, one of our visions is to provide global
      interoperability via IP for making heterogeneous/constraint
      objects very smart.

      We are investigating a new architectural framework to support
      scalability and interoperability for IoT as a research item. The
      goals for this are to identify several problems of existing
      protocols and find possible solutions for solving these problems.

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2.2. Classification and characteristics of objects

   Many studies are going on regarding IoT which is going to be an
   advanced network including normal physical objects together with
   computers and other advanced electronic appliances. Instead of
   forming ad hoc network, normal objects will be a part of whole
   network so that they can collaborate, understand real time
   environmental data and react accordingly in need.

   Objects can be classified as follows.

   o Size: small, normal

   o Mobility: mobile, fixed

   o Power: without power supply, with power supply

   o Connectivity: intermittently connected, continuously connected

   o Automation: automated, non automated

   o Physical/logical: physical objects, logical objects

   o Network protocol: IP enabled objects, non IP objects

   Objects have the following characteristics.

   o Ability to sense and/or actuate

   o Small (or not necessarily)

   o Limited capability (or not necessarily)

   o Energy/power limited

   o Connected to physical world

   o Intermittent connectivity

   o Mobile (potentially)

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   o Of interest to people

   o Managed by devices, not people

2.3. Purpose / applications

   o Body area network (bio-medical, etc)

   o Smart Grid

   o Building networks

   o Vehicles (inter and intra)

   o RFID/Asset-tracking

   o Manufacturing

   o Environmental sensors

   o Revealing/sharing information

3. Features of the IoT

3.1. Overall aspects

   (Order(s) of magnitude bigger than the Internet, No computers or
   humans at endpoint, Inherently mobile, disconnected, unattended)

3.2. Applications/services aspects

   There are many use cases among various stakeholders in IoT
   environment. Each device/machine can be used for multiple
   applications/services with different characteristics.

3.3. Networking aspects

   It is required to provide a common communications technology that
   supports all applications/services as well as heterogeneous
   networking interfaces.

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3.4. Link/physical layer aspects

   There are various types of networking interfaces which have different
   coverage and data rates. These environments have the characteristics
   of low power and lossy networks like Bluetooth, IEEE 802.15.4
   (6LoWPAN, ZigBee), NFC etc.

3.5. Smart/connected objects aspects

   Smart/connected objects are heterogeneous with different sizes,
   mobility, power, connectivity and protocols. A physical object
   interacts with several entities, performs various functionalities and
   generates data that might be used by other entities. Usually
   resources of these objects are limited.

3.6. Smart environment aspects

   Smart environment which consists of networks of federated sensors and
   actuators can be extended from homes/offices to buildings/cities.
   From residential home, end-to-end large scale services such as smart
   cities can be considered.

4. General issues

   o Scalability

      The IoT has larger overall scope than communications with
      conventional hosts. There will be small (home environment) or
      large scale (factory, building) application area. Objects
      communicate with each other and with people seamlessly. Each
      constituent might be offering different services. Basic
      functionalities such as communication, service discovery need to
      be functioning efficiently in both small and large scale
      environment. Scalability regarding addressing can be taken as an
      example. IPv4 address is finishing, object-to-object communication
      needs huge number of IP addresses in order to uniquely identify
      each objects. As a scalable solution, IPv6 can be used which can
      accommodate as many things as required to include in the IoT.

   o Interoperability

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      World of physical objects is extremely diverse. They have
      different communication, information and processing capabilities.
      Each object would also be subjected to very different conditions
      such as power energy availability and communication bandwidth
      requirement. In order to facilitate communication and cooperation
      common practices and standards are required. Interoperability
      issue includes device, services heterogeneities. Devices are small,
      large, with continuously powered, without power supply.
      Interoperability solution should be maintained to provide seamless
      interaction among them. Service description, publishing, and
      discovery mechanisms should be interoperable otherwise the IoT
      will be converted into islands of heterogeneous object network.

   o Discovery

      In dynamic environment of ubiquitous networking, suitable services
      for objects must be automatically identified. As users want to
      know product information and their availability all the time, it
      requires appropriate semantic means of describing their

   o Data volumes

      Depending on application and use cases there is variance in data
      volume. In a scenario where there is brief collaboration among
      objects data volume will be less. However, in case where there are
      large number of objects and interact among very frequently there
      are large volume of data. How to handle big volume of data is one
      of the important challenges of ubiquitous networking. Volume can
      be considered either from device or as a whole network perspective.
      Each object has augmented memory, storage and processing
      capability. If there are a large number of peer objects
      communicating with each other, object runs out of processing,
      memory and storage. From network perspective it is also difficult
      to handle bulk amount of data if objects produce huge bytes of
      data regularly. Solution can be periodic communication between
      objects or some data compression and optimization techniques.

   o Power supply

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      Scope of object is broad in the IoT. It ranges from small to large.
      Moreover, things move around and difficult to connect to power
      supply all the time. So they need to operate with self-sufficient
      energy source. Passive RFID does not contain power supply, which
      requires reader in order to get information from it. Not all
      objects can be connected to continuous power supply also,
      providing battery for each small object may not be feasible.
      Therefore, energy efficient communication mechanisms are essential.

   o Fault-tolerance

      The IoT consists of objects have less power. They are more dynamic
      and mobile compare to current state. However, users rely and
      believe that network will function properly. To maintain robust
      and trust worthy dynamic ubiquitous networking requires redundancy
      in several levels and ability to automatically adapt to changed
      conditions depending on the required quality of service.

   o Security and personal privacy

      Users are fighting with security and privacy issue of current
      Internet in large extent. When it will be broaden in to ubiquitous
      networking, there is even more threat of security and personal
      privacy. Confidentiality, authenticity and trustworthiness of
      communication partners need to be maintained. Users may want to
      give things limited service access not allowing them to
      communicate in uncontrolled manner.

   o Device adaptation

      Initially started with retail and logistic application, the IoT is
      covering very general applications scenario integrating things to
      the network. It allows objects to collaborate each other and with
      person. There are heterogeneous devices, application scenarios,
      data format, and communication network. Each connected objects
      should be able to adapt the situation where it is now. When a
      person with smart phone enters home, it should adapt communication
      mechanism, addressing and localized environment. When it reaches
      in office environment it should adapt with new situation where the
      mechanisms available in home can be different. Adaption in many
      senses should be maintained.

   o Intelligence

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      The smart objects should be able to intelligently co-operate with
      the environment in which it will be introduced. Sensing current
      environment, acting intelligently according to situation is
      required in order to realize true object-to-object communication.
      The IoT makes possible for virtually any object around us to
      exchange information and work in synergy to increase quality of
      our life. There are smart clothes which will interact
      intelligently with climate control of car and home to select the
      most suitable temperature and humidity for the person. Smart book
      interacts with entertainment devices such as TV in order to
      elaborate the topic we are reading. Most of the devices act
      according to their predetermined set of actions or they will
      collaborate with each other based on current context and act

5. Problems

5.1. Identifier for objects and services

   There are various kinds of identifier with different identification
   codes according to objects and their services. Current identification
   schemes for objects are also different from their purposes.


   o Identification (new naming space, globally unique ID)

      With the huge evolved communication objects, the hierarchical
      identification schemes are required. The aggregation feature of
      IPv6 address is one of example.

      According to the classification of Things, the different
      identification schemes are required. That is, the information such
      as books, medicine and clothes may not require the global
      identification because revocation lists are required. It means
      some objects will be destroyed.

5.2. Object naming

   Current Internet just identifies the specific server which contents
   are stored. As the end points of current Internet are hosts,
   individual content in a server cannot be identified in the network.

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   o Object naming services

   The name service of Internet such as DNS (Domain Name System)
   [RFC1034] has already been one of the most important infrastructures
   of the Internet nowadays. For example, DNS is an indispensable system
   of the Internet used for translating the "human-friendly" host names
   of computers on a TCP/IP network into their corresponding "machine-
   friendly" IP addresses. In general, DNS also stores other types of
   information, such as the list of mail servers that accept email for a
   given Internet domain. By providing a worldwide, distributed name
   service, DNS is an essential component of the functionality of the

   Similarly, object name service will also be one of essential and key
   elements in the IoT, which can be used for translating the "thing-
   friendly" names of object which maybe belong to heterogeneous name
   spaces (e.g. EPC, uCode, and any other self-defined code) on
   different networks (e.g. TCP/IP network, constrained network) into
   their corresponding "machine-friendly" addresses or other related
   information of another TCP/IP or constrained network. The object of
   IoT based on a TCP/IP or constrained network can easily communicate
   with other object on the same or any other network with the name of
   the object by object name service, without considering whether the
   address of the targeted object has been changed or not.

   To fulfill the aforementioned objective, object naming service based
   on the IoT needs to be researched. The compatibility of heterogeneous
   name spaces and the efficiency for the constrained network of this
   kind of service are supposed to be the most important issues to be
   studied in future.

5.3. Security/privacy/authority

   The loss of security and privacy in communications and services, with
   personal data is becoming available and unwanted communication
   becoming rampant.

   The overall problem is further aggravated by the diversification of
   the Internet with new types of devices and heterogeneous networks.
   The user is confronted with a wide range of methods and devices with
   which to access the digital world, and it can no longer be assumed
   that a single, independent access per device will suffice, nor that
   the user will actually own all these devices.

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   Using identities as representations of entities of all kinds as the
   end points of communications, the handling of the privacy of data in
   the network and the infrastructure is key issues to solve problems
   associated with the diversifying of the Internet towards an IoT, and
   to be reachable in the digital world [7].


   o ID-management for things (security, authentication, privacy)

      Basically each object should not be able to authenticate during
      the short time because the hundreds of objects may request the
      approval at the same time. Therefore, group authentication and
      authorization methods are required.

5.4. Presence (of people; of devices)

   Key challenging issue is to develop a mechanism which accepts, stores
   and distributes presence information with the relationship between
   people and devices.

5.5. Geographic location (self identification of location)

   For IoT applications/services, we need to know the physical location
   of objects and the location of information from objects. Problems are
   how to identify location information related to objects with
   autonomic way.


   o awareness of location

5.6. Discovery/search

   Every object can be a source of information. Information from object
   should be stored and discovered through searching in order to use it
   by persons. For this, semantic and context information can be used.

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5.7. Tracking and mobility support of mobile object

   To support the routing and mobility protocols, the IoT networks have
   structural characteristics. That is, the mobility support models are
   required. Some objects move independently. Others will move as the
   one of group. Therefore, according the moving feature, the different
   tracking methods are required. It is important to provide ubiquitous
   and seamless communication among objects while tracking the location
   of objects.


   o TBD

5.8. Data processing /computing

   For supporting various applications in the IoT environment,
   information should be able to transfer among objects operating under
   varied perspectives without humans.


   o Information model (data store, retrieval, transfer, etc)

      According the Information model, the functionality of data
      processing should be distinguished.

   o Policy/preferences

5.9. Heterogeneous networking interfaces (IP and non-IP, etc)

   Networking interfaces of objects are heterogeneous in terms of
   coverage, date rate, etc. For communicating among objects,

   o Interworking model with proxy (gateway)

      Each gateway should support the multiple interfaces, which are
      evolved in different heterogeneous network.

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5.10. Global connectivity (IPv6)

   Each object should support the end-to-end communications. And also
   outside-initiated services may be supported into the inner network.

5.11. Scalability

   In IETF LISP, Shim6 and Other WG, ID/LOC separation methods have been
   developing. For more scalable and robust network, ID/LOC separation
   features are required.

5.12. Global interoperability

   For global interoperability, IP is considered for communicating smart

5.13. Autonomics (self-configuring, intelligence for control)

   For self-configuration, a problem is how a device needs to establish
   its connection automatically with a plug and play manner. In addition,
   for intelligent control, a problem is how a device can understand a
   message for control (e.g., command).

   o Remote control and management/maintenance of objects

      IPv6 auto-configuration and multi-homing features are useful for
      the autonomics. The scope-based IPv6 addressing features are
      easily applied for self-configuration such as smart building and
      smart grid.

5.14. Constraint objects

   For constraint objects which do not have enough power, memory,
   computing, to develop lightweight protocols for minimizing energy
   consumption is essential. However, these protocols do not have enough
   capabilities compared to conventional protocol which is running on
   always-on devices with enough power.

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5.15. Coordination among many objects

   Like the Full-function device (FFD) and Reduced Function Devices
   (RFD) in sensor network, the objects of IoT should be classified in
   viewpoint of functionalities.

5.16. Web Services

   Each object may be identified through the web services. It means that
   the object should be identified by the URL/URL. For web of objects,
   it is required to invent technologies for leveraging real-world
   object exposed using Web on the Representational State Transfer
   (REST) interface.

6. Architectural implications

   This document has explained the concept of the Internet of Things and
   several characteristics of objects. In addition, this document has
   investigated key technical issues and specifies problems for the IoT.

   For future work, we need to find possible solutions for each problem.
   It would be a good starting point to develop a new architectural
   framework in order to solve problems. Thus, various issues on the
   architecture for IoT are discussed.

6.1. Vertical vs. Horizontal

   Based on technical problems for IoT, the current standards should
   require extension of the architectural principles of both vertical
   (from link/physical to service/application) and horizontal (one
   object(user) to other object(user) through local networks as well as
   global Internet infrastructure) perspectives.

   In the vertical aspect, more studies should require in networking
   capabilities for control and operation of various services over
   complicated stacks of different layer technologies. In horizontal
   aspects, further enhancements of user-centric communication
   capabilities should take into account the complex user situations
   including various devices connected to home networks and various
   access technologies which support convergence. These capabilities are
   necessary to support the ubiquitous networking to provide seamlessly

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   interconnection between humans and objects for Any Services, Any Time,
   Any Where, Any Devices and Any Networks.

6.2. Architectural considerations in the service perspective

   In the service perspective, a target goal of architecture design is
   to support various applications using a common communication
   infrastructure. For this, service oriented architecture, open service
   platform and overly networks are considered.

   o Service oriented architecture

      Objects are becoming smarter with the continual augmentation of
      communication and computing capabilities. Service Oriented
      Architecture (SOA) based programming, which was initially used for
      complex, and rather static business data sharing can now be used
      for small objects [8]. Objects can offer their functionalities
      using the Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) or the REST
      Application Programming Interface (API) based approaches [9]. This
      allows objects to interact dynamically. Devices that provide their
      functionality as a web service can be used by other entities such
      as business applications or even other devices.

   o Open service platform

      Open service platform is required for promoting integrated and
      interoperable IoT services while easily interworking with existing
      service platform based on open standards.

   o Overlay networks (Service overlay)

      For deployment of abstract services, logical networks on top of a
      physical infrastructure are created. These networks have an
      overlay topology that logically interconnects all the
      participating nodes/objects in the physical network.

6.3. Common infrastructure in the networking perspective

   In the networking perspective, common infrastructure should provide
   scalable, interoperable solutions to support abundant of
   communicating nodes/objects.

   o New concepts of networking

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      For stimulating interactions among connected objects with
      efficient way, new concepts of networking are also required. We
      need to investigate feasibility of those technologies. The
      followings are some examples:

      - User-centric networking

      - Data-centric networking

      - Content(Information)-centric networking

   o Interoperable end-to-end model


   o Integrating of smart objects

      Common infrastructure for IoT should provide functionalities for
      integrating of smart objects.

6.4. Consolidated layered architecture for IoT


7. Security Considerations


8. IANA Considerations

   This document has no actions for IANA.

9. References

9.1. Normative References


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9.2. Informative References

   [1]  ITU-T Internet Reports, "Internet of Things," November 2005.

   [2]  Zouganeli E., Svinnset, I.E, "Connected objects and the
        Internet of things-a paradigm shift," Photonics in Switching
        2009, September 2009.

   [3]  Harald Sundmaeker, Patrick Guilemin, Peter Friess, Sylvie
        Woelffle, "Vision and challenges for realizing the Internet of
        Things," March 2010.

   [4]  Luigi Atzori, Antonio Iera, Giacomo Morabito, "The Internet of
        Things: A survey," Computer Networks, Volume 54, Issue 15,
        pp.2787-2805, October 2010.

   [5]  Maarten Botterman, "Internet of Things: an early reality of the
        Future Internet," Workshop Report, European Commission
        Information Society and Media, May 2009.

   [6]  White paper, "Smart networked objects and Internet of Things,"
        Association Instituts Carnot, January 2011.

   [7]  Amardeo Sarma, Joao Girao, "Identities in the Future Internet
        of Things," Wireless Pers Comm., 2009.

   [8]  Guinard, D., Trifa, V., Karnouskos, S., Spiess, P., Savio, D.,
        "Interacting with the SOA-based Internet of things: Discovery,
        Query, Selection, and On-Demand Provisioning of Web
        Services," IEEE Services Computing, IEEE Transactions, vol.3,
        no.3, July-Sept. 2010.

   [9]  Malatras, A., Asgari, A., Bauge, T., "Web enabled wireless
        sensor networks for facilities management," IEEE Systems
        Journal, vol.2, no.4, Dec. 2008.

   [RFC1034] P. Mockapetris, "Domain names-concepts and facilities,"
             November 1987.

Appendix I: Case study on typical use cases of the IoT


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Appendix II: Relationships with existing working groups in IETF

   o 6LoWPAN (IPv6 header compression)

   o ROLL (IPv6 routing for low power/lossy networks)

   o Core (Constrained RESTful Environments, former 6LoWApp (Low power
      applications) BoF)

   o RRG (Routing research group)

   o HIPRG (Host identity protocol research group)

Author's Addresses

   Gyu Myoung Lee
   Institut TELECOM, TELECOM SudParis
   9 rue Charles Fourier, 91011, Evry, France

   Phone: +33 (0)1 60 76 41 19

   Jungsoo Park
   161 Gajeong-dong, Yuseong-gu, Daejeon, 305-700, Korea

   Phone: +82 42 860 6514

   Ning Kong
   4 South 4th Street, Zhongguancun, Haidian District, Beijing, 100190,

   Phone: +86 10 5881 3147

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      The Internet of Things - Concept and Problem Statement   March 2011

   Noel Crespi
   Institut TELECOM, TELECOM SudParis
   9 rue Charles Fourier, 91011, Evry, France

   Phone: +33 (0)1 60 76 46 23

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