The Internet of Things: Projects "WINGS" and "Proxi Produit"

AFNIC is involved in the development of standards for naming and name resolution that are crucial to the paradigm of the Internet of Things.

In partnership with the members of the WINGS project, the AFNIC R&D team focussed on designing and implementing a Federated architecture for resolving the objects in the Internet of Things, termed as “Federated Object Naming Service”. The initiative enabled a transition from the existing architecture with a single root to a target architecture, allowing independent sovereign authorities to cooperate in providing a global service. A direct application of this model was scheduled as part of another project called “Proxi Product project”, funded and supported by the Minister of State for Forward Planning, Assessment of Public Policies and Development of the Digital Economy.  This project aims to allow users to access online information on consumer products, identified by their barcode.

The Internet of Things is a relatively vast paradigm and admits multiple meanings depending on the players and the technological environments in question. Schematically, the Internet of Things is an extension of the current Internet to all the objects that can communicate directly or indirectly with electronic equipment which is in turn connected to the Internet. The use of RFID tags and chips, among other things, allows such an extension. Associated with an object, these tags can be read by a device (whether mobile or not) and the information relating to the object will be retrieved through the Internet.

As mentioned earlier, AFNIC interest in the Internet of things is particularly restricted to naming and name resolution of objects equipped with an RFID chip or a bar code. These identification methods are prevalent in the areas of logistics and procurement.

The ONS ("Object Naming Service") is a standard directly derived from the Domain Name System (DNS).  It can typically associate information (a web page for example) or services (mobile) with objects identified by their name, because the latter is directly derived from the electronic code (EPC) contained in the RFID chip. This is normally referred to as "extended packaging" in the consumer industry. Their use enhances the real physical world of objects by another, accessible via the Internet.

A major challenge for governance

In its current definition, the ONS standard was based on an architecture with a single root, directly modelled on the DNS, including in terms of its method of management since both have been entrusted to a single company. AFNIC has been involved, along with its partners in the WINGS project, in the emergence of a new ONS standard, based on the principle of a federated architecture with multiple roots, managed by sovereign, independent stakeholders, which cooperate in order to provide a global F-ONS service. From a technical standpoint, the challenge consisted in ensuring the interconnection and interoperability of the ONS roots without sacrificing stability, performance, or security.

A few dates about AFNIC activity involved in the Internet of Things

2008

  • AFNIC joined the working group established by GSI France and devoted to the Internet of Things. It submits the proposal to upgrade the ONS standard to a multi-root architecture i.e. the federated ONS, and produces in-house a platform for its experimentation.

2009 – 2010

  • Launch of the WINGS project ("Widening Networking Interoperability for Global Supply Chains"). The project, coordinated by GS1 France and supported by the French National Research Agency (ANR) as part of the Verso call for projects on the Internet of the future, is designed to improve the interoperability of federated ONS services and enhance the reliability of their interactions with multi Discovery Services.

  • At the same time, AFNIC joins the "Federated ONS (F-ONS) Requirements Ad Hoc Committee" of GS1, responsible for specifying the technical requirements for a future F-ONS standard. AFNIC actively contributes to the development of the "Federated ONS (F-ONS) Requirements Document". This document was issued and validated by GS1 late in 2010.

  • As part of the WINGS project, the AFNIC Federated ONS platform is exported and installed in the GreyC and Orange Labs to test the interoperability and performance of the solution under real operating conditions.  Testing continued until October 2011.

  • Work on the Federated ONS serves as a theoretical background for the proposed Proxi Product experiment, developed in partnership with GSI France and Adenyo. Supported by the Minister of State for Forward Planning, Assessment of Public Policies and Development of the Digital Economy. The project is designed to allow users to access on-line information on consumer products, identified by their bar code.

  • AFNIC creates a demonstration model and a video illustrating the operation of the Federated ONS as a didactic tool and for knowledge and skills transfer. The 2010 IoT Conference in Japan provided an opportunity, among others, to give a presentation of the model.

2011

  • Together with its WINGS partners, AFNIC conducts performance tests on the F-ONS platform in order to validate the model. In parallel, it contributes to the new standards group created within the GS1, the "Federated ONS Mission Specific Work Group", stemming from the work of the "F-ONS Requirements Ad Hoc Committee".

2012

  • WINGS was successfully completed in February 2012.

2013

  • This work has helped significantly contributed to the new ONS standard, published in early 2013 (http://www.gs1.org/gsmp/kc/epcglobal/ons/ons_2_0_1-standard-20130131.pdf).


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