Advancing the "Internet of Things" - Digital Economy Strategy Submission to Industry Canada

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Soumis par GS1 Canada 2010-07-13 15:03:48 HAE

Thème(s) : L'infrastructure numérique, L'innovation grâce aux technologies numériques

Sommaire

GS1 Canada is pleased to provide this submission, entitled "Advancing the Internet of Things", in support of the Government of Canada's effort to create a Digital Economy Strategy for Canada. GS1 Canada commends the government for taking this important step.

GS1 Canada takes the view that the Internet of Things is key to the transformation of Canada's digital economy. The Internet of Things has come to describe a number of technologies and research disciplines that enable the Internet to reach out into the real world of communicating objects. The Internet architecture of the future is set to revolutionize person-to-thing and thing-to-thing interaction through technologies like Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), short-range wireless communications and real-time localization and sensor networks, all of which are bringing the Internet of Things into commercial use.

The necessity of ensuring appropriate frameworks for the evolution of the Internet of Things has been recognized in jurisdictions around the world. Governments world-wide have begun investing in its advancement. China, as well as the European Union, led by France and Sweden, are moving forward aggressively to set up systems, standards and governance frameworks to not only ensure long-term economic competitiveness, but also to ensure that there is nationally-rooted architecture that will enable them to retain control over critical national infrastructure related to the Internet of Things and assure privacy of data for their enterprises and citizens throughout this evolution.

It is critically important to the success of small, medium and large businesses in Canada that the Federal Government has answers regarding Canada's level of participation in the development, implementation and usage of the Internet of Things. This policy development includes considering questions about how we intend to create the infrastructure (e.g. a domestic Object Naming Service (ONS) server) and standards that allow for global interoperability of technology. Perhaps most importantly, Canada will have to take important steps in consulting further with Canadians on how we ensure the protection of citizens, domestic industry and involved stakeholders with regard to the transmission of personal data and data with commercial value over the internet architecture of the future.

GS1 Canada recommends that, to this end, the government facilitate widespread adoption of global supply chain, business process and communication standards, as well as automatic identification and data capture technologies across Canadian industry. Further, GS1 Canada urges the government to support the creation of the means to network this information through a domestic ONS server. These measures represent the critical first steps for realizing an innovative vision for advancement of the Internet of Things in Canada, establishing the platform for creation of the productivity-enhancing digital applications of the future.

A strategic focus on laying the groundwork for the Internet of the future is consistent with Canada's desire to be a world leader in the digital ecosystem and aligns with the government's innovation agenda. As well, advancing the creation of a domestic ONS server, which will enable queries for information about Canadian products to route domestically, ensures that Canada's Internet infrastructure continues to support data privacy principles as well as public safety and security objectives in the evolving context of the Internet.


Soumission

July 13, 2010

Table of Contents

"The relentless pace of technology means that every day there is something newer, faster, better. To succeed in the global economy, Canada must keep step as the world races forward."

2010 Speech from the Throne

1 Executive Summary

The Internet has developed rapidly in the last 25 years; today, the Internet connects around 1.5 billion people and its open infrastructure, based on a standardised technology, has facilitated its expansion and interoperability worldwide. Its development is expected to explode in terms of both distribution and new applications over the next 25 years.

Canada's vision for a more digital economy must be broader than just an expansion of internet service into rural and remote areas of the country; while this network expansion is an important goal, we must be far more ambitious, taking a leadership role in designing where the digital economy is going, rather than focussing on what it is today. This effort must include putting in place the systems and processes now, from a uniquely Canadian perspective, to support the technological revolution that is taking place globally.

The Internet of Things is the next stage in the transformation of Canada's digital economy. The Internet of Things has come to describe a number of technologies and research disciplines that enable the Internet to reach out into the real world of communicating objects. The internet architecture of the future is set to revolutionize person-to-thing and thing-to-thing interaction through technologies like Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), short-range wireless communications and real-time localization and sensor networks, all of which are bringing the Internet of Things into commercial use.

The necessity of ensuring appropriate frameworks for the evolution of the Internet of Things has been recognized in jurisdictions around the world. Governments world-wide have begun investing in its advancement. China, as well as the European Union, led by France and Sweden, are moving forward aggressively to set up systems, standards and governance frameworks to not only ensure long-term economic competitiveness, but also to ensure that there is nationally-rooted architecture that will enable them to retain control over critical national infrastructure related to the Internet of Things and assure privacy of data for their enterprises and citizens throughout this evolution.

It is critically important to the success of small, medium and large businesses in Canada that the Federal Government has answers regarding Canada's level of participation in the development, implementation and usage of the Internet of Things. This policy development includes considering questions about how we intend to create the infrastructure (e.g. a domestic Object Naming Service (ONS) server) and standards that allow for global interoperability of technology. Perhaps most importantly, Canada will have to take important steps in consulting further with Canadians on how we ensure the protection of citizens, domestic industry and involved stakeholders with regard to the transmission of personal data and data with commercial value over the internet architecture of the future.

GS1 Canada recommends that, to this end, the government facilitate widespread adoption of global supply chain, business process and communication standards, as well as automatic identification and data capture technologies across Canadian industry. Further, GS1 Canada urges the government to support the creation of the means to network this information through a domestic ONS server. These measures represent the critical first steps for realizing an innovative vision for advancement of the Internet of Things in Canada, establishing the platform for creation of the productivity-enhancing digital applications of the future.

A strategic focus on laying the groundwork for the Internet of the future is consistent with Canada's desire to be a world leader in the digital ecosystem and aligns with the government's innovation agenda. As well, advancing the creation of a domestic ONS server, which will enable queries for information about Canadian products to route domestically, ensures that Canada's Internet infrastructure continues to support data privacy principles as well as public safety and security objectives in the evolving context of the Internet.

2 About GS1 Canada

GS1, formerly EAN International, was established in 1975 to provide a global multi-industry system of identification and communication for products and services based on internationally accepted and business-driven standards. Today, GS1, an industry-driven not-for-profit association based in Brussels, Belgium, is one of the world's foremost standards organizations, with over 140 member countries participating in the standards development process, and over 1 million companies worldwide using GS1 standards to improve the efficiency and safety of their supply chain and business processes. The most well known GS1 standard is the Global Trade Item Number (GTIN), most notably represented by the ubiquitous bar code found on food and consumer products, which accounts for over 5 billion business transactions a day, worldwide. Membership in GS1 is restricted to national Member Organizations, each of which are recognized authorities for the establishment of identification rules for products and services.

GS1 Canada is the Canadian GS1 Member Organization. As part of a global community, GS1 Canada works with its 10,000 members to ensure that Canadian supply chain requirements are reflected in global standards, and we support Canadian organizations with the implementation of these standards. As a national, not-for-profit association, GS1 Canada's vision is to ensure that Canadian companies of all sizes and in all sectors have equal opportunities to participate in the domestic and global evolution of collaborative commerce.

3 Government of Canada Consultation

In the March 3, 2010 Speech from the Throne, the Government of Canada clearly signalled its interest in the development, adoption and use of digital technologies noting its intention to "launch a digital economy strategy to drive the adoption of new technology across the country." This commitment was further supported in the 2010 Federal Budget which noted the priority to develop a digital economy strategy. The government indicated the strategy would focus on the transformative nature of the digital environment; how society is currently turning to digital means to "create, communicate, and store information at home, between individuals, and through institutions... (and how) business models and (individual) habits and being transformed."

In Spring 2010, the Government of Canada, through Industry Canada, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada and Canadian Heritage, released a consultation paper titled, "Improving Canada's Digital Advantage: Consultation Paper on a Digital Economy Strategy for Canada". The consultation paper recognizes that digital technologies are now fundamental drivers in all facets of the Canadian economy. Digital information and communications technologies (ICT) have transformed the way we live and do business - from how we buy groceries in the supermarket, to how our children learn, to how global banking systems talk to each other. In recognition that a strong digital economy will be the backbone of Canada's future prosperity, the consultation provides an opportunity for the Government of Canada to gain feedback on what steps Canada should be taking to prepare itself for the economy of the future, both domestically and as part of an international community which has also recognized the opportunities available through this technological evolution.

GS1 Canada's submission is framed around the consultation paper, responding to the call for recommendations on how Canada can build a stronger and more competitive digital economy through the consideration of necessary elements for a comprehensive, multi-year strategy that will help Canada become a global leader as technological innovation and services transform how we do business in the global marketplace.

4 Overview

It is clear that we, as a society, are becoming increasingly dependent on the Internet and digital technology to exist. Only 25 years ago the Internet was connecting about a thousand hosts; currently, it links billons of people though computers and mobile devices. Electronic commerce has become a primary mechanism for firms to conduct business from both an operational and retail perspective. While Canadian firms are slow to sell their goods online, almost half of private sector firms themselves are purchasing goods and services online.Footnote 1 Online purchasing is even higher for public sector organizations, with an estimated 82% making purchases online in 2007.Footnote 2 Canadians use digital technology to talk to each other, to interact with organizations and institutions and to facilitate back office transactions in every facet of business.

As we move forward, not only will Internet usage see exponential growth as the populations of large, developing nations come online, the Internet itself is poised on the brink of evolutionary change, transforming from Web 2.0 with its social network focus, to the semantic Web 3.0 model of knowledge-based networking of information, to Web 4.0: a global system of interconnected computers with a complex network of interconnected objects, creating an "Internet of Things." The concept of the Internet of Things is truly visionary. It covers fundamentally different modes of communication: thing-to-person communication and thing-to-thing communications which could potentially involve 50-70 billion machines, of which only 1% are connected today.Footnote 3 Imagine temperature-sensitive food products that are able to record the temperatures to which they have been exposed along the supply chain, or narcotics that can report tampering, or services that can provide information about a product's place of origin, sustainability attributes, allergen contents, and recall information. This visibility into the global supply chain will provide incredible value to businesses of all sizes and contribute to increases in productivity while fundamentally altering the consumer experience. This is accomplished by assigning a unique identifier to an object, linking this object with sensors (e.g. RFID tags) that log information about their environment, and capturing this information about this specific object within sophisticated database systems that can be accessed to acquire comprehensive, validated product and location information in a secure, controlled manner. The scope of the Internet of Things is limited only by our imagination and our ability to build and use digital technology systems.

Consumer demand for product information is increasing. Consumers want information about health and wellness (e.g. allergens), product safety (e.g. toxicity, authenticity) and sustainability (e.g. packaging sustainability attributes), and they want it instantly. More succinctly, consumers will soon expect to be able, at or before the point of sale, to know where the product comes from, what it is made of and what has happened to it since its production. To enable access to this information, Canada needs the infrastructure and software to allow for data queries, and to return trusted, authenticated data. The Internet of Things will allow for this type of information exchange.

The preliminary seeds of the Internet of Things have been planted and are germinating in a number of jurisdictions around the world. China and the European Union, led by France and Sweden, are the first movers in the evolution of the digital economy. France and Sweden are each committing funds to accelerating the development of information and communications technologies to enable Internet of Things adoption with distinctly domestic uniform standards and protocols that still allow for global interoperability. France has already funded the creation of a European server for the Object Naming Service - foundational architecture for data lookup services - to enable the Internet of Things through a domestic routing infrastructure; acknowledging that while the Internet of Things must be based on a global, interoperable infrastructure and global standards, the governance and architecture of the infrastructure must be decentralized, with different jurisdictions having has their own ONS root server. To use a rough analogy, a national ONS root server is similar to Canadian domain services creating a ".ca" root for internet addresses rather than just accepting ".com".

If Canada does not pursue strategic investments to enable the Internet of Things, we risk not only a loss of opportunity to support the commercialization of innovative solutions created by Canadians for Canadians, but face the risk that solutions developed in the United States or Europe will be imposed upon us.

This submission details the history of the evolution of the Internet of Things, providing a clear description of the technology and systems elements that need to be considered to allow Canada to be a global leader in digital economy. The Internet of Things is not just an extension of today's Internet; rather, it is a number of new independent systems that operate with their own infrastructure, partly relying on existing Internet infrastructure. It is clear that the Internet of Things should be a fundamental component of the Government of Canada's short and long-term strategic vision for the digital economy. Given GS1 Canada's historical role as a facilitator in technological innovation and its unique position as a collaborator with the community of industrial technology users in Canada, consisting of actors in most sectors and in every facet of e-commerce and e-supply chain systems that enable business innovation, we would welcome the opportunity to work with the Government of Canada to help guide the seamless transition to this new paradigm in a way that protects Canadian interests, promotes Canadian business success, and benefits individuals Canadians.

5 The Digital Evolution: What the Future Will Look Like

Before discussing the technological and system details of the digital evolution, it is important to first provide a picture of what a digitally enabled future looks like for Canadians.

In the Supply Chain: Warehouses will be fully automated, with items being checked in and out, orders passing to suppliers automatically, and information about products being accessed via wireless networks.

In the Grocery Store: Consumers will scan products with their mobile phones to access data about the journey of a product through the supply chain from manufacturer through to store shelf, to ascertain sustainability details about the product such as carbon footprint and fair trade, to identify allergen and dietary information, and to pay for the product.

At the Hospital: One area where the technology that enables the Internet of Things may have immediate and considerable impact is healthcare. The ability to provide continuity of care, continuous patient monitoring, shared yet secure medical records, valid and accurate medical dosages, medical equipment tracking and improved information display and communication, are some of the opportunities provided by the proposed infrastructure, ultimately reducing costs while increasing the reliability and effectiveness of healthcare delivery.

At the Restaurant: Patrons will scan the menu with their mobile phones or blackberries to view the nutritional content of the recipes. Restaurants would receive automatic updates from their vendors and distributors about the nutritional content of the products they use, never having to worry about whether their menus are accurate.

At Home: The refrigerator of the future will monitor the food inside of it and notify owners when the content is approaching its best-before date; the stove will recognize the product in the pot and cook it at the right temperature, timing it to be finished at the same time as the roast in the oven. Smart metering systems will provide household energy consumption information to consumers, in real time, about how much electricity they are using, allowing them to adjust usage accordingly.

While these examples may seen futuristic, beta testing is already occurring on a number of them.

6 The Internet of Things: A Digital Transformation

The interconnection of physical objects is expected to amplify the profound effects that large-scale networked communications are having on our society, gradually resulting in a genuine paradigm shift. Examples of this development include connected cars helping reduce traffic congestion, enabling the efficient movement of goods and people across borders, and increasing the productive use of natural resources. From an environmental point of view, connected trees could fight deforestation by tracking the level of carbon in rainforests.Footnote 4 The overall impact on global supply chains and on Canadian productivity is yet to be fully understood and quantified; however, the opportunities for transformational innovation are clear, real and imminent.

6.1 Understanding the Technology

In order for this type of digital transformation to occur, Canada must first ensure the building blocks and system linkages are in place. At the most fundamental level, the norms require that RFID tags and associated sensors can operate, can be seen and can be queried anywhere in the world, providing visibility throughout the global supply chain. RFID technology is globally recognized as a technology that has the potential to transform and to dramatically improve the way business is conducted. The key element in RFID technology is the transponder (or tag) which is an electronic component consisting of a chip and an antenna. The chip - which can measure just a few millimetres - can wirelessly store, receive and transmit information on the attributes of the product to which it has been applied. Experts in the field claim that in the future

these chips will replace the bar codes in use today due to their advantages: RFID tags do not have to be touched to be read, as in the case of magnetic strips, or even be in a direct line of sight, as in the case of bar codes, and can hold significantly more information than bar codes.

Through various technological breakthroughs, RFID is now becoming more affordable; in the future, most everyday objects (such as transportation passes, clothes, mobile telephones, and cars) could be fitted with RFID tags. RFID offers significant business efficiencies (e.g. the ability to measure inventory wirelessly) driven mainly due to the opportunity to identify individual products uniquely, thereby enabling organizations to access more detailed information specific to each particular item, rather than simply generic properties or specifications defined at the level of the product class.

EPCglobal Inc., the fully owned subsidiary of GS1 tasked with developing industry-driven global standards for use of RFID in the supply chain, manages the standard called the Electronic Product Code (EPC). The EPC allows for globally unique identification of objects using RFID, combining, within an RFID tag, a serial number unique to a specific object with an identifier unique to a particular company. In this way, the EPC allows for the unique identification of every object with RFID, acting as the key to enabling these unique objects to interact through the Internet. Figure 1 below graphically demonstrates the components of the Electronic Product Code.

Figure 1: EPC as a means of unique identification
Figure 1: EPC as a means of unique identification

It should be noted that RFID technology is not yet widespread across all industry sectors. The level of utilization of the technology can be explained by the fact that in itself, RFID is just a technology enabling efficient data capture. Business process improvements will be derived from improvements in the ability to access to data and improvements to the infrastructure to support the communication of data between companies and between objects.

Combining the EPC standard with RFID technology, and linking to communications network infrastructure, will enable accurate, cost-efficient visibility of product and location information in the supply chain. EPCglobal is leading global industry collaboration to define the set of supply chain, business process and communication standards to enable this capacity worldwide, including the networking standards - standards for data discovery - through an ONS; foundational architecture for lookup services that takes an EPC as input, and produces as output the address (URL) of a service designated by the company associated with the EPC in question. Simply put, the ONS is a router - a network switch - which can be used to convert, for example, a barcode to a URL to a company website. In slightly more technical terms it can be described as an automated networking service that points computers to services on the World Wide Web.

It is important to recognize how ONS works, as it is the fundamental component of the Internet of Things. As an example, when users want to locate information about a product, they would first consult ONS. ONS would then return a list of services available for the product in question; the application would then access the service(s) of interest. These services may include product data (allergens, nutrition, etc.), recall status, warranty information, and more.

Within EPCglobal, the most significant service is the Electronic Product Code Information Service (EPCIS). Despite its name, EPCIS is not a service offered by GS1, rather, it is a specification for a service that may be implemented by any solution provider. The goal of EPCIS is to enable disparate applications to leverage EPC data via EPC-related data sharing, both within and across enterprises.

Figure 2 below demonstrates the discovery path for queries.

Figure 2: ONS Interaction with the Discovery Services Concept
Figure 2: ONS Interaction with the Discovery Services Concept

The ONS was originally architected by the EPCglobal community as an application of the Internet Domain Name Service (DNS). According to the current ONS specifications by EPCglobal, there is a single ONS root zone, onsepc.com, managed by US organization Verisign Inc. Based on the Internet DNS protocol and infrastructure, the ONS allows storing and looking up information associated with an object carrying an RFID tag, as an application of the existing Internet architecture.

6.2 System Transformation to the Internet of Things

As we move toward the Internet of Things, governments must recognize the importance of linking supply chains from end to end and facilitating the Internet architecture that will enable regional and cross-sectoral access to interoperable network infrastructure in a way that enables the flow of information using state of the art technology, while protecting privacy and providing security for commercially valuable information. This infrastructure is vital to ensuring that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can compete in the global economy.

The Internet of Things will permit the networking of billions of machines that will be able to communicate and interact with one another via wireless technologies using logical and physical addressing protocols; it will enable, through the use of electronic identification systems and wireless mobile devices, digital entities and physical objects to be identified directly and conclusively so as to allow the data they contain to be identified, captured, exchanged and continuously processed.

The creation of an Internet of Things, which links together objects through unique, standardized product coding, technology systems and complex, synergistic databases, requires government intervention. It is a fundamentally new concept rather than an add-on to our existing digital systems and its creation is taking place in an environment affected by a number of challenges. First, the number of connected devices is increasing, while their size is reduced below the threshold of visibility to the human eye. In addition, objects are ever more wirelessly connected, enabling the geo-localization of individuals. Privacy considerations will be fundamental to developing consumer trust in the Internet of Things. Finally, the Internet of Things will come to maturity in an environment already crowded with proprietary applications that are not designed to be interoperable.

GS1 Canada recommends that the government undertake measurable steps to advance the Internet of Things, including building the capacity to link real world objects to virtual counterparts. Early adopters in Canada are already introducing Canadians to innovative business processes that signal the coming of the Internet of Things. For example, self-checkout stations at local grocery stores, Canadian Tire or Wal-Mart present consumers with the opportunity to manage the checkout process with the latest product identification technologies; familiarizing a new generation of consumers with the linkage between tangible products and the databases that house the virtual information about these products. For such systems to work, each product must be uniquely identifiable through either a bar code or an RFID chip, and must be able to "talk" to the database which contains the unique information about it. The ability of objects to communicate such data, and the ability of Internet infrastructure to support such transactions, will lead to the development of new industries and the commercialization of value-added applications that will dramatically impact both industry productivity and the consumer experience. The applications are almost endless; reading the bar code or RFID chip in a car tire, children's toy or pharmaceutical product and accessing product information about the exact, individual product through the Internet will provide Canadians with information relating to consumer safety, ingredients, allergen content, recall status, coupons, promotional material, recipes, and numbers in inventory.

As we evolve from an Internet characterized as a network of computers and servers, to an Internet of Things (or "goods"), there will be three main change requirements:

  1. Systems Development: the development of the operating characteristics, intelligence and sophistication of the physical objects (e.g. through readers, tags and sensors);
  2. Management of Internet Resources: clear definitions of user-based models and data definition exchange standards, and creation of a federated network infrastructure, based on an openly defined and implemented network architecture that is able to operate locally and be linked globally;
  3. Governance of the Internet of Things: this technological evolution will require new Internet governance systems to cover new functionality and, fundamentally, protect the privacy of Canadians.

Each of these three areas is discussed below.

1. Systems Development

Globally, the architecture of the Internet of Things is developing rapidly with the rise of mobile Internet usages and the diversification of connected objects. This represents substantial opportunities for Canada's vibrant R&D community to showcase their skills in technological innovation, to drive development of applications to stimulate growth of the Internet of Things. We need only look to the technology triangle in south-western Ontario to recognize such skills not only exist in Canada, but have been cultivated in a way that position Canada to become a global leader in this area.

Given that the next phase of the EPCglobal network development will have to allow for integration of product information provided by a large number of organizations horizontally across the supply chain and vertically across other industries and countries, there is also a need for increasingly widespread adoption of product and location identification standards, and establishment of a Canadian ONS server to route data inquiries.

2. Management of Internet Resources

The Domain Name System, managed in the United States, is one of the most visible centralized infrastructures supporting the Internet. It was created in 1983 for practical reasons - Internet users were finding it difficult to remember IP addresses. Allowing for easy to remember "domain" names (e.g. www.coca-cola.com) increased the usability of the Internet. The Internet is based on the centralized architecture of the DNS routing system, routing users to IP addresses based on domain names. As previously noted, the ONS was created by the EPCglobal community as an application of the DNS, enabling the storing and looking up of information associated with an object carrying a RFID tag. As the Internet of Things evolves, the centralized, 'single-root' architecture of the ONS is increasingly a drawback for the development of new applications for the future Internet, with concentration of the ONS root governance in the hands of a single entity, highlighted at the French EU Presidency 2008 conference on 'the Internet of the Future' as an obstacle hindering the deployment of a worldwide ONS.Footnote 5 This position has led to recent work by countries such as France and Sweden to create domestic ONS root-servers that will enable a distributed ONS architecture.

The development of new applications and services that rely on geographically-located information systems, and their connections with RFID tags and mobile services, will make a domestic ONS root-server even more crucial to the development of the Internet economy in Canada. Information security, infrastructure stability and national sovereignty will be key considerations in the deployment of the Internet architecture of the future that will support the Internet of Things.

3. Governance of the Internet of Things

Technological advances will occur regardless of government intervention; however, simply leaving the development of the Internet of Things to the private sector, and possibly to other world regions, is not a desirable option in light of the significant societal changes that the Internet of Things will bring about. Many of these societal changes will need to be addressed by Canadian policy makers and public organizations to ensure that the use of new digital technologies and applications will stimulate economic growth, improve our overall well-being and protect Canadians' privacy and commercial interests.

In particular, the governance of the Internet of Things, including data discovery services, must be designed and exercised in a coherent manner, aligning with all public policy activities related to Internet governance. The global scale of this emerging network also necessitates the development of an architecture framework that will allow for an open governance model. Given the emerging importance of the ONS as a critical component of this Internet architecture of the future, it is becoming urgent for Canada to develop alternative solutions to the current centralized model. GS1 Canada recommends that Canada follow the approach taken by other jurisdictions around the world such as China, France and Sweden, which have pursued a federated ONS governance model based on domestically housed ONS root servers that can effectively facilitate the use of the global network, while addressing national privacy, security and sovereignty issues.

One of the main governance issues will undoubtedly be related to the privacy and protection of personal data. Social acceptance of the Internet of Things will be conditional on effective governance rules dealing with the privacy and protection of personal data; the development of the Internet of Things therefore will be dependent on how this issue is dealt with from a public policy perspective. A prerequisite for trust and acceptance of these systems is that appropriate data protection measures are put in place against possible misuse and other personal data related risks. Unfortunately, information security is often considered after the design phase of new technologies and systems, making the integration of safeguards to protect such information difficult and expensive in later stages. It is therefore critical that the components supporting the Internet of Thing are designed from their inception with a security and privacy-by-design mindset that comprehensively includes user requirements.

6.3 Activities in Other Jurisdictions

Given the global interest in the evolution of the Internet of Things, a proactive approach and close cooperation with countries leading the global digital economy will be necessary when developing Canadian architecture, technical standards and governance structures. This is particularly true when one recognizes that many Internet of Things systems and applications will be borderless by nature and therefore require a sustained international dialogue.

The following jurisdictions are taking key steps to enable the development and implementation of the Internet of Things.

France
  • In 2008, the French Government supported the creation of an ONS root server for the country, to be developed and managed by GS1 France, in support of a strategy to enable advancement of the Internet of Things. In France, the vision is for every product in the country to be uniquely identified using global standards, registered with GS1 France, and for discovery of information about these products to be enabled through the domestic ONS node/portal. This model allows for confidence in the fact that the product data is accurate, authentic, and uniform across the country; it is a model that Canada should follow as we look to establish our own domestic ONS root system.
Sweden
  • Similar to France, GS1 Sweden and .SE (The Internet Infrastructure Foundation, responsible for top-level domain names in Sweden) announced July 1, 2010 that they will jointly develop an ONS root server as a fundamental step in the development of the Internet of Things, supporting the eventual networking of all physical objects to the Internet.
European Union
  • In June 2010, the European Parliament backed a resolution in support of the creation of the Internet of Things. As part of this resolution, the EU Parliament indicated that a thorough assessment must be made of any impact of this technology on health, privacy and data protection. The resolution stated that the European consumer should have the right to opt for a product that is not equipped or connected. The development of the internet of things will depend on the trust consumers place in the system.
China
  • Following previous expressions of support for the Internet of Things, in July 2010, China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) announced it will vigorously promote the formulation of a unified national strategic plan for the Internet of Things. MIIT will create clear positioning, development goals, timetables and a roadmap for roll out of the Internet of Things, and will drive research and development, commercialization, creation of foundational technology, and connection to/usage of the network. These efforts will include strengthened policy supports to stimulate development of the Internet of Things, including financial and taxation measures.

Jurisdictions listed above have been busy moving forward on establishing governance structures to aid the development of the Internet of Things and specifically, ONS root servers, creating a domestic infrastructure that allows for the unique protection of citizens while enabling the international interoperability of technologies. Canada must do the same, acting quickly to begin the process of technology innovation that stimulates a made-in-Canada solution based on global standards.

7 The Need for a Domestic Solution

The global development of the Internet of Things and related applications will have a major impact on the daily lives of Canadians and their habits in years ahead, leading to a broad range of economic and social changes. Indicators that this evolution is already underway, including the activities ongoing in other jurisdictions to stimulate development, denote the critical importance of the Government of Canada taking a forward-thinking, proactive approach when creating its Digital Economy Strategy, to not only ensure that Canada is prepared to address this evolution, but that it is positioned to lead. The Digital Economy Strategy must therefore include a strategy to move forward with the creation of a made-in-Canada architecture for the Internet of Things, and policy positions that support this technological innovation.

There are a number of important policy considerations. From a data security perspective we need to decide what information should be controlled and maintained within Canada's borders. From an infrastructure perspective, we need to determine how companies and objects get registered and connected to this future network, and how this data is managed and shared. If Canada does not have domestic ONS architecture, Canadian businesses' and citizens could have data with personal and commercial value put at risk, since data queries will be routed through other jurisdictions. From a legal perspective, Canada will need to make legislative adjustments regarding the management of information over the network. For example, the creation of a root ONS system requires putting data into a repository so it can be queried and then providing a path to find the data. Neither aspect - hosting the data in Canada nor having a path within Canada - is currently addressed in Canadian legislation.

By instituting a proactive approach, Canada will be positioned to take a leading role in shaping the evolution of the Internet of Things, reaping the associated benefits in terms of economic growth and individual well-being. Failing to do so would mean missing an important opportunity to influence an imminent, global resource and could place Canada in a position where it is forced to adopt technologies that have not been designed with its core values and societal requirements in mind, such as the protection of privacy and commercially valuable data. A made-in-Canada solution has the opportunity to build in safeguards for consumer privacy and data security for business, including opt-in and/or privacy by design.

8 Recommended Next Steps for the Government of Canada

The Internet of Things is not yet a tangible reality; it is a prospective vision of a number of technologies that, combined together, could dramatically modify the way our society operates within the next 10 years. In order to position Canada as a leader in creating this next generation of digital innovation, and to drive economic value through the commercialization of related emerging industries, we recommend the federal government focus Canada's energies on three major areas:

  1. Facilitating industry adoption of global identification standards
    The GS1 System of global standards is a common business language used by over one million organizations worldwide to standardize the identification of items, services, locations, logistic units, etc., and is used to simplify the exchange of related data with their business partners around the world. GS1 standards (such as bar codes) are used to connect physical and logical things to information or business messages related to them.
  2. Facilitating industry adoption of automatic identification and data capture technologies
    The Electronic Product Code is the GS1 standard for identifying objects at a unit level using RFID technology. The EPC enables every object in the world to be identified uniquely, with RFID being the key to enabling these unique objects to interact through the Internet. This is central to enabling the Internet of Things.
  3. Supporting Canadian implementation of the Object Naming Service (ONS)
    The core infrastructure currently being designed to underpin the Internet of Things are called Data Discovery Services, a suite of services that enables query-issuers to identify the location of EPC-related data and to request access to that data. The lynchpin of the data discovery process is the ONS. The ONS is the framework for retrieving information about objects from standards-based registries, through the Internet. With objects identified based on GS1 standards and connected to the network using EPC/RFID, ONS will enable discovery of information related to the registered objects.
  4. Supporting Development of Product and Location Registries
    Registries of standardized product and location information are fundamental to enabling queries issued through Data Discovery Services. The development of GS1 standards-based registries is essential to enabling the registration of products and locations by organizations, ensuring accurate, authentic data related to products and locations is accessed by users.

GS1 Canada is currently supporting Canadian industry in the adoption of a collaborative business model based on global supply chain, business process and communication standards and best practices for e-commerce that will ultimately prepare Canadian business for success in the digital economy. As a neutral, non-profit organization, we have a proven track record of working with governments, business, technology experts, industry associations and the public to help develop interoperability of technology solutions and drive change leadership in digital innovations. As well, one of GS1 Canada's core roles is to work with industry to build communities to foster collaboration on key challenges and opportunities facing Canadian businesses, from manufacturers, to distributors, to retailers, supporting collective resolutions and outcomes. We are well-positioned to support the government in the realization of its goals and objectives related to advancing a digital economy strategy for Canada.

Through this strategy, Canada should become a driving force behind the creation of the Internet of Things. The advancement of Canada's digital economy must continue to be a government priority and must be broader than just Internet connectivity. We encourage the Government of Canada to establish a working group made up of organizations such as GS1 Canada, technology providers, business leaders, and systems experts to begin the dialogue immediately about how we can create a made-in-Canada architecture for the Internet of the future, consistent with the global movement toward sovereign ONS root servers, to enable domestic businesses and citizens to take full advantage of the emerging Internet of Things.

For More Information:

Kathleen McManus
Director, Public Affairs
GS1 Canada
1500 Don Mills Road, Suite 800
Toronto, ON M3B 3L1
Tel: 416-510-8039 x 2263
Email: kathleen.mcmanus@gs1ca.org

Toronto Office
GS1 Canada
1500 Don Mills Road,
Suite 800
Toronto, ON M3B 3L1
T 416.510.8039
F 416.510.1916
Helpdesk 1.800.567.7084
E info@gs1ca.org

Montreal Office
GS1 Canada
7780 Metropolitain Blvd. East
Montreal, QC H1K 1A1
T 514.355.8929
F 514.356.3235
E eccnetlandV@gs1ca.org

Calgary Office
GS1 Canada
720-28th Street N.E.L
Suite 110
Calgary, AB T2A 6R3
T 403.291.2235
F 403.291.2240
E eccnetlandVcalgary@gs1ca.org


Footnotes

  1. 1 Statistics Canada. "The Daily" Thursday, April 24, 2008. http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/080424/dq080424a-eng.htm (back to footnote reference 1)
  2. 2 Ibid. (back to footnote reference 2)
  3. 3 This figure is commonly used by different authors who assume that every human is on average surrounded by approximately 10 machines. (back to footnote reference 3)
  4. 4 http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1934027_1934003_1933962,00.html (back to footnote reference 4)
  5. 5 Event website of French EU Presidency conference on ,the Internet of the Future http://www.internet2008.eu/ Videos of the speakers : http://webcast.ec.europa.eu/eutv/portal/archive.html?viewConference=5422&catId=5199 (back to footnote reference 5)

Si vous ne pouvez pas accéder au document qui suit, veuillez communiquer avec la personne ci-dessous afin de l’obtenir dans le format approprié.

Guylaine Verner
Industrie Canada | Industry Canada
300, rue Slater, Ottawa ON K1A 0C8 | 300 Slater Street, Ottawa ON K1A 0C8
Guylaine.Verner@ic.gc.ca
Téléphone | Telephone 613-990-6456
Télécopieur | Facsimile 613-952-2718
Téléimprimeur | Teletypewriter 1-866-694-8389


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