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Converging Networks

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This Handbook presents the ITU-T Recommendations on next generation networks in the context of the ongoing convergence of the telecommunications and media industries.

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The Internet of things

The Internet of things is another example of the convergence of previously separate information and communication technologies – in this case a merging of product identity labelling (RFID), process control (sensor networks), wireless and network interconnection (the Internet). Radio frequency identification (RFID) has developed from the bar coding of products and has been primarily used in inventory control applications. Objects are tagged with identifiers and short-range wireless technology is used to read this information and also to write application data to the tag in some cases. Sensor networks have been deployed in industrial process control and would in many cases benefit from local or wide area network interconnection for control, maintenance and data collection. Wireless networks are being designed specifically for sensor networks that are being integrated in the Internet by use of the Internet protocol. The Internet of things will consist of tagged objects and networked readers, writers, sensors and actuators. As in other cases of convergence, a number of organizations from the previously separate industry segments are involved in the specification of systems and their standardization. This leads to some overlap as each of the players working from their particular area of expertise look at the broader scenario of the Internet of things and also provides an incentive to international standardization organizations to harmonize specifications addressing similar issues as there is a bewildering array of standards from many organizations. A 2008 European study on RFID alone noted that more than 250 standards describing RFID-related solutions had been established by around 30 different organizations [CE RFID].

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