oneM2M: A Bridge over IoT Waters

Omar Elloumi
September 8, 2015


The development of Machine to Machine (M2M) communications and the Internet of Things (IoT) is continuing at pace. The two are intrinsically linked and depending on your definition, M2M is basically becoming acknowledged as the communications layer of the IoT. The amount of investment into this sector is reaching astonishing proportions. According to a recent announcement by IDC, the internet of things market will grow globally from approximately 655.8 billion USD in 2014 to 1.7 trillion USD in 2020. McKinsey recently predicted that the total economic impact of the IoT could be as much as 11.1 trillion USD per year by 2025.

However this isn’t just a US market. According to an article in the Guardian, the British Prime Minister David Cameron confirmed the UK Government were making £45m available for internet of things research in the UK, as well as £1m grants for European companies developing related products. The Financial Times reported on how French companies are successfully innovating for the internet of things.

The reality is that M2M is in fact already out there and has been in a relatively modest form for many years, although current levels will seem like the tip of the iceberg in a few years' time. Take up of the pace predicted can only happen if the various layers of development – or islands of connectivity – can properly talk to each other via a platform and utilise the data being exchanged between them.

Global standards initiative

Leading the challenge to deliver this platform is the global standards initiative oneM2M, whose remit covers the requirements, architecture, API specifications, security and interoperability for M2M and IoT technologies.

The M2M / IoT market is very fragmented, with some growth projections being scaled back and of course this is to be expected when you consider the choices facing potential investors in M2M. They need to first pick or guess which technology ecosystems will be winners before choosing one. At best that slows down investment, at worst it discourages it.

This fragmented nature of the M2M market led to the creation of oneM2M, an alliance of standards organisations looking to develop a single horizontal platform for the exchange and sharing of data among all applications. The organisation is creating a distributed software layer which will facilitate the unification by providing a framework for interworking with different technologies and between applications.

oneM2M has recently completed its first release of 10 specifications, all of which are available for free from the oneM2M website (, and have also been republished by the partner standards organisations. These specifications cover requirements, a functional architecture, including reference points and interfaces, a set of core APIs across these interfaces, and mappings to commonly used M2M/IoT industry protocols. Moving on from there, in the second release due within the next 12-18 months, there will be further enhancements to the security model already introduced in Release 1, and crucial data abstraction and semantics capabilities will be further developed.

oneM2M certainly has the pedigree and global reach to successfully encourage IoT and M2M usage. Founded in 2012 by seven of the world’s leading ICT standards bodies (ARIB, ATIS, CCSA, ETSI, TIA, TTA, TTC), covering most regions of the globe: USA, Europe, China, Japan and Korea, and recently joined by an Indian standards body (TSDSI), it also operates in collaboration with groups such as the Broadband Forum, HGI, Continua, OMA, NextGenM2M Alliance and GlobalPlatform. It now has over 200 members with a mix of operators, system integrators, M2M specialists, device manufacturers, universities and research bodies and is now regarded as the leading global standardisation body for both M2M and the IoT.



Omar ElloumiDr. Omar Elloumi is Head of M2M and Smart Grid standards within Alcatel-Lucent CTO. He is the chair of oneM2M Technical Plenary after having led the oneM2M Architecture working group delivering the first release of oneM2M specifications.

Dr. Elloumi joined Alcatel-Lucent in 1999 and held several positions including research, strategy and system architecture. He holds a Ph. D. degree in computer science and served on the ATM Forum and IPSphere Forum Board of Directors. Dr. Elloumi is co-editor of books on M2M communications and Internet of Things published in 2012. He is also involved in program committees of several international conferences on M2M and IoT and served as Guest Editor for IEEE Communications Magazine feature topic on IoT/M2M.