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Question 25/16 – USN applications and services
(New Question)


A ubiquitous sensor network (USN) is identified as an intelligent information service infrastructure which enables an advanced e-life society. USN provides context-aware information and knowledge services which are developed by using context awareness with sensing, storing, processing and integrating situational and environmental information gathered from sensor tags and/or sensor nodes affixed to anything, even the human body. It can deliver such information and knowledge services to anyone at anywhere and anytime. The intelligent information and knowledge services provided by USN can be presented in many media types such as text, image, animated image, voice, music, and video.

USN applications and services are emerging at the moment. Situational and context-aware information and knowledge produced by USN will add more values and can provide more business opportunities to sensor-integrated applications and services such as manufacturing and industrial fields; military, health care, environmental control and utility use management, civil engineering, precision agriculture, transportation, and so on.

In addition, the climate change is becoming a global agenda in the world and ITU is taking this challenge as a global standards organization. SG 16 as a technical Study Group in ITU-T should reply on this important subject and develop standards on ICTs and climate change to better understand how ICTs can help mitigate climate change in terms of multimedia systems and services. USN is one of promising ICT solutions to mitigate climate change problems (e.g. power/energy savings, greenhouse gas emission, natural environment pollution, etc.). Sensor nodes and resulting sensor networks have to be installed at proper measurement points to sense, collect and transmit climate status. USN supports context-aware information services through processing collected climate information.

A set of technology domains could be involved to realize various USN services. For example, physical sensor networks have to be established by wireless or wire-line, a sensor network has to be connected via various access network technologies to a global network like NGN, Internet, and mobile cell phone network. Middleware systems can be incorporated to perform intelligent and context awareness processing. Finally, various USN applications and services will require application layer technologies such as integrated services, sensor information description and presentation, service discovery, etc.
As described below, there are several work items to support USN applications and services. Hence, this Question should cover all the work items in a harmonized way.

Study items

Generally USN has two study issues: how to transmit sensor data and how to process sensor data. USN middleware and application layer technologies correspond to how to process sensor data with taking consideration of services provisioning to end-users.

Study items to be considered include, but are not limited to:

  • Analysis of service and functional requirements: requirements analysis is a starting point to extract service features, required functions, relevant attributes and attribute values from various USN applications and services
  • Architectural service framework: a reference framework is required to see overall architecture consisting of system and network configurations, data processing functionalities, and interface relationships due to heterogeneous application components.
  • Application profiling specifications: USN applications and services have vertical characteristics and each one may have unique requirements. Each type of USN application and service needs an application profile to define service features, processing functions, operation attributes, attribute values, etc
  • Sensor information description language: a variety of sensor information data needs to be described in a standardized way and machine-readable form
  • Middleware-relevant standards: a set of relevant standards need to be developed for such middleware functions, such as sensor information gathering, filtering by various policies and rules, data comparison and analysis, data mining, context modelling language, context-awareness processing, context-aware decision and estimation, integrated management of sensor information, service integration, audio and video data transmission, and reference middleware framework
  • Directory service standards: a set of relevant standards need to be developed to define a data structure for directory services, register and discovery USN services, etc
  • Sensor node identification scheme: a unique identifier needs to be assigned to each sensor node for management purposes
  • Considerations on how to help measure and mitigate climate change


Tasks include, but are not limited to:

  • Roadmap for relevant standards with compiling and analyzing standardization requirements and work items
  • Amendment with new features for existing Recommendations with regard to some of the above study items such as directory services
  • Studies on service description and requirements for USN middleware
  • Studies on an architectural framework for USN middleware services
  • Studies on functionality profiles of USN applications and services
  • Studies on a sensor information description language
  • Studies on a context modelling language for context awareness of USN middleware
  • Studies on audio and video data transmission protocols over low-power wireless sensor networks
  • Studies on application interfaces among USN middleware entities
  • Studies on an identification scheme of USN elements including sensor nodes

Key work items need to be completed until 2010 to meet the time-to-market for those emerging USN applications and services. An up-to-date status of work under this Question is found in the SG 16 work programme (




  • • F and H series Recommendations under the responsibility of SG 16


  • • 12, 20, 21, 22, 28/16

Study Groups:

  • ITU-T SG 13 on NGN-perspective USN issues (including USN middleware from NGN point of view)
  • ITU-T SG 17 on USN security and directory service issues
  •  ITU-R SG 1 on spectrum management
  • ITU-R SG 3 on radio propagation

Other Bodies:

  • IEEE 1451 on sensor and sensor node interface standards
  • IEEE 802.15 on low-power wireless networking standards
  • IETF 6LoWPAN on IPv6-based low-power networking over IEEE 802.15.4
  • ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 6 on USN matters from lower to higher layers
  • ZigBee Alliance on low-power sensor networking and application issues over IEEE 802.15.4


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Updated : 2008-12-05