How to Solve the Metadata Challenge for Cross-industry Semantic Interoperability

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This is part one of a multi-part series that addresses the need for a single semantic data model supporting the Internet of Things (IoT) and the digital transformation of buildings, businesses, and consumers. Such a model must be simple and extensible to enable plug-and-play interoperability and universal adoption across industries. All parts of the series are accessible at

IoT network abstraction layers and degrees of interoperability

Interoperability, or the ability of computer systems or software to exchange or make use of information[1], is a requirement of all devices participating in today’s information economy. Traditionally, interoperability has been defined mostly in the context of network communications. But with millions of devices being connected in industries ranging from smart home and building automation to smart energy and retail to healthcare and transportation, a broader definition is now required that considers the cross-domain impact of interoperability on system-to-system performance.

Perhaps the best-known example of a framework for defining network interoperability is provided by the Open System Interconnection (OSI) model, which serves as the foundation of telecommunications networks worldwide. The OSI model provides a framework for interoperability through seven distinct abstraction layers that isolate and define various communications functions, from the transmission of bits in physical media …

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