Objectives & Ambition

The VICINITY project can be summarized through five cornerstone objectives that will define not only the outcomes of the project but will also shape its workplan and the scheduling of tasks:

  • Objective 1: Potential stakeholders are identified and engaged in VICINITY, business drivers and barriers on IoT interoperability are captured and analysed
    The VICINITY consortium recognizes that IoT interoperability is not only about technical solutions, but rather on consideration of stakeholders’ motivations and concerns that can accelerate or inhibit the adoption of particular solutions. Therefore, special emphasis shall be placed on the involvement of stakeholder communities during the whole project lifecycle, thus a VICINITY Stakeholder Advisory Board (SAB) is established and maintained. The established VICINITY Advisory Board (SAB) shall be involved at:

    • Identification IoT interoperability requirements and barriers which are elicited, captured and analysedas principal drivers of the VICINITY research activities
    • VICINITY research results and validation activities which will be evaluated with stakeholders
    • Identification, elaboration and validation of business cases exploiting VICINITY research results

  • Objective 2: VICINITY concept defined in compliance to the existing and emerging IoT standards with ambition of contributing to them
    VICINITY definitions shall be driven by results achieved in the frame of objective 1 in conformity with the existing IoT standards and with consideration of the state of the art achievements in the field. In particular the following particular goals shall be achieved:

    • Comparative study of the actual state of the art solutions and standards on IoT interoperability
    • Analysis on relevant regulatory requirements in particular application domains (energy, health, security and privacy)
    • Definition of VICINITY IoT ontologies
    • Specification of VICINITY Technical requirements and solution architecture
    • Identification of VICINITY contributions to the relevant standards according the gaps identified at elaboration of VICINITY Architecture, Services and Requirements based on the testing and verification of VICINITY Use Cases
  • Objective 3: Open interoperability gateway and web-based Neighbourhood Manager available on the internet
    The core components of the VICINITY virtual neighbourhood ecosystem shall be implemented and deployed according to requirements defined in the frame of Objective 2 with consideration of barriers captured in the frame of objective 1. The objective consists of the following particular goals:

    • Implementation of an open VICINITY gateway of semantic interoperability connected to the internet, which can be easily integrated without sharing any details about the particular client IoT deployments
    • Development of a web-based Neighbourhood Manager connected to the internet, through which the operator of particular infrastructure can decide which data wish to share with whom and to what extent
    • The automated integration to open gateway shall be possible using VICINITY semantic discovery and dynamic configuration features. Moreover, specific VICINITY back-end component shall monitor internet based repositories for IoT semantic descriptors. As soon as a semantic IoT descriptor appears in any of the monitored repositories, the VICINITY auto-discovery device shall be able to recognize it and dynamically map it to the gateway.
    • Implementation of state-of-the-art security and privacy assuring mechanisms in order to ensure trust over IoT landscapes
  • Objective 4: Diverse proprietary IoT infrastructures integrated, Decentralized interoperability demonstrated
    VICINITY shall demonstrate how messages arisen from proprietary IoT platforms, diverse across diverse domains, can be transported through the VICINITY gateway according rules set on the neighbourhood manager. IoT assets communicating on VICINITY supported standards shall be automatically integrated using VICINITY semantic discovery and dynamic configuration features. The achieved decentralised interoperability shall be demonstrated on cross-domain topics, as outlined below:

    • Smart Energy - Interconnection of buildings within a neighbourhood can allow them to negotiate as a group their potential forecasted energy flexibility (both consumption and distributed generation) within a Smart Grid ecosystem, allowing the realisation of collective dynamic Demand Side Management (DSM) strategies.
    • Smart Buildings - In a Smart Building perspective a crucial point is that, all information gathered from wired and wireless communication systems along with numerous technologies of the building’s users can be captured and interpreted unambiguously and semantically correct as well as can be made available to other systems that need this information elements into their business process.
    • Intelligent Transport - Implementation of smarter, cleaner and safer transport through the integration of smart parking and intelligent building infrastructures via VICINITY.
    • Distributed eHealth at Home - Assisted living for the elders and people with special needs shall be demonstrated facilitating existing commercial equipment and sensors along with available communication channels to bring together end-users and their relatives, doctors and help-centre assistance providers.
    • Third party IoT infrastructures via VICINITY open call application in order to extend the integration scope of VICINITY.
  • Objective 5: Value-added services explored and demonstrated
    It is crucial for VICINITY concept success to explore potential new business models that can evolve by exploiting the unleashed volume of semantically enhanced information, stemming from the emerging IoT ecosystems connected to the VICINITY interoperability platform. VICINITY project shall work towards identifying how advanced techniques can facilitate the creation of diverse services across IoT domain. Commercial benefits of these services for application developers and service operators shall be indicated. An indicative list of value-added services demonstrated by VICINITY project is listed below:

    • Business Intelligence services over IoT data in the context of renewable energy which will allow citizens to understand the value by accessing the key performance indicator (KPI) used for management.
    • Energy micro-trading solution, where the owners of small-scale private renewables can trade the produced energy, as well as their energy demand regulation capacities at shifting on-peak demand to off-peak one.
    • AI-based services in the context of smart parking and heath data analysis - In the transportation domain, a balanced parking plan taking into account user preferences, parking history of vehicles and actual demand will be provided by the AI-based services utilising prediction and optimization algorithms. In the health-related domain, data streams and user profiles recommendations about prevention and health condition improvements will be provided by AI-based services.
    • Third party advanced value added services via VICINITY open call application in order to extend the business and technology scope of value added services beyond the capabilities of the consortia.


From silos to decentralized, cross-domain/cross-vendor IoT Interoperability

VICINITY aims to support the IoT interoperability by employing a generic IoT based on working with and building on ETSI M2M, OneM2M, IoT-A to express IoT data defined by other widely accepted standards as well as data using proprietary formats. This interoperability support will be further extended for specific requirements cross-IoT-domain value added services.

Principal break-through of the VICINITY interoperability concept is brought by its decentralised philosophy that is flexible on the data format used and removes the non-technical interoperability barriers present in the centralised solutions.


Semantic Devices and Service Discovery & Dynamic Configuration

VICINITY aims to develop an automatic discovery process of IoT devices using the most adopted semantic descriptions. The VICINITY discovery process will also dynamically update its capabilities based on continuous crawling of existing heterogeneous repositories of devices. The aim is to create a fully automatic process for standardized IoT resources, based on standards supported by VICINITY discovery module. As soon as a new device descriptor appears in any of the monitored internet based repositories, VICINITY automatically maps it to VICINITY IoT ontology and since that moment the device become known for the VICINITY auto discovery device.


From Ontologies of Things to Ontologies of Services

VICINITY aims to go beyond the modelling of “Things” (i.e., devices or sensors) in order to provide a common ontology model that enables the representation of rich data in IoT neighbourhoods and the development of value added services. Such ontology model will be based on existing standards (from W3C, OGC, and oneM2M) and will feedback and enhance them.


Value Added services in IoT

VICINITY aims to exploit its inherent ubiquitous interoperability to serve as a testbed platform for developing cross-domain value added services of various types. Underlying semantic knowledge mechanisms and the applied concept of social networking will enable VICINITY to demonstrate the advances of IoT interoperability on services that will combine business intelligence with energy consumption monitoring, as well as the AI algorithms for data mining, prediction and optimization with smart parking and eHealth services.


Open Smart Appliances for all kind of services

VICINITY aims to assist in creating a smarter household in terms of a more efficient and more open use of the information and services provided by smart appliances. By gathering the data from different household (smart) appliances, in particular sensors that are incorporated in them, first of all the way energy is consumed can be improved. VICINITY will go beyond the use of this well-investigated approach for smart appliances. VICINITY will create ways to open the data and services of the smart appliances to independent service operators. The availability of the data from smart appliances will pave the way to new services, also in other domains such as security, e-health, or transport that will have an impact to individuals and the community as a whole.


VICINITY comes with principal novelty in its basic philosophy which stays on the following pillars:

  • Rather than implementing yet another IoT management platform or standard, it brings interoperability as a service for existing IoT platforms, enabling the creation of new, innovative domain-crossing services,
  • It is open to integrate the existing IoT infrastructures deployed at end-users, or novel IoT infrastructures and services developed e.g. by SME,
  • It presents a decentralized operation framework (the VICINITY Neighbourhood manager) where platform users can configure the interoperability of own IoT assets themselves upon mutual confirmation, similarly to the sharing of information on the well-known social networks (basically it represents a WEB 2.0 over IoT management),
  • It provides distribution of rights to be implemented on IoT devices and infrastructure related to legacy, authentication, authorization and access control
  • It provides an open integration API enabling to integrate proprietary solutions. None of the system integrator or vendor specification and source codes needs to be shared preserving any of the IP protection rules of these organizations.