Four years after we started, we are now scaling up student training in developing IoT systems using oneM2M's open standard


In this interview, Dr. Sachin Chaudhari of IIITH outlines the institute’s involvement with oneM2M. He describes a range of educational and deployment initiatives in India to scale up the number of people with knowledge of open standard IoT systems

Q: Would you begin with a brief introduction to yourself?

SC: Hello to your readers and I am happy to be speaking about our work at IIITH once again.  I hold an Associate Professor post at the International Institute of Information Technology at Hyderabad (IIITH). My research interests are in signal processing for wireless communication, particularly in the physical layer aspects of the Internet of Things (IoT), 5G, and cognitive radio.

I am also actively involved in India’s First Living Lab at IIITH’s Smart City Research Center.  During the period from 2019 to 2022, I coordinated the IIITH’s Centre of Excellence (CoE) on IoT for Smart Cities. The CoE was supported by the India-EU collaboration project on standardization, TSDSI and ETSI. The main objectives of the CoE were knowledge initiatives (such as workshops, tutorials, hackathons, MOOC) and research collaboration between India and EU research institutes.  Outside of the Institute, I represent IIITH at the Telecommunication Standards Development Society of India (TSDSI). I am also a senior member of the IEEE.

Q: Would you also tell us something about IIITH?

SC: IIITH is an autonomous university that was founded as a not-for-profit public-private partnership in 1998. It is the first IIIT in India under this model. In 25 years of its existence, IIITH has risen in stature and is presently ranked one of the best institutes in the country for technical education.
The success of IIITH owes to its flexible operating structure that emphasizes research centers. Each research center focuses on niche technological domains such as Smart City, Robotics, AI/ML, IoT, Signal Processing and Communications, IT in Building Science, VLSI and Embedded System Technologies, and Computer Systems Group. This arrangement offers chances for greater collaboration across teams of researchers whose collective interests span multiple disciplines.
Research centers have great autonomy in planning and executing their research agenda. Even undergraduate students get to participate in ongoing research and technology development - an opportunity unprecedented in India.
We have developed a substantial in-house research capacity that enables the institute to undertake strategic projects in core and applied areas requiring high levels of personnel. This has helped attract research funding from government agencies such as the Department of Science and Technology (DST), the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY), the Defense Research Development Organization (DRDO), and industry bodies such as TCS, IBM, Microsoft, Nvidia, Google, Nokia, and others. The institute also maintains active collaborations with leading international universities around the world.

Q: Your group has been involved with oneM2M for several years. What are your main areas of focus?

SC: Yes, our group has been actively involved in several activities on oneM2M. There are three main areas where we have been active. One is at the undergraduate level, the second applies to our work with local colleges, and the third involves research on smart cities and our research team at IIITH, including faculty, researchers, and interns.

Q: So, what has been going on in the undergraduate area?

SC: We have been integrating oneM2M into the undergraduate curriculum and aiming to grow the pool of graduates with a theoretical and practical knowledge of IoT systems and oneM2M’s standard. oneM2M has been integrated into our undergraduate CSE curriculum, specifically in two courses. One is the Introduction to IoT course and the other is the Embedded System Workshop (ESW). These courses have around 150 students each. There are two lectures and two lab sessions on interoperability and oneM2M. In ESW, oneM2M is a default part of the capstone project. In addition to this, we have created a Massive Open On-Line Course (MOOC) on oneM2M.

Q: Earlier, you mentioned a network of local colleges. How is your group working with them and where are they located?

SC: We have an outreach program called “College Research Affiliate Program (IoT),” where we mentor students and faculty of several Indian colleges on IoT and oneM2M. In the first phase, more than 300 students from 5-6 colleges completed a one-month teaser on IoT and oneM2M, including lectures from MOOC on oneM2M. The second phase involves two hands-on workshops on IoT and oneM2M with smart city themes for a selected group of 100 students. The prototypes developed at the workshop are supposed to be deployed at their college campuses. In the third phase, a smaller group of about 20 students do a long-term internship and BTech thesis.

In geographic terms, the colleges we have been working with are distributed across India. The first cohort had the following six colleges:

  • G Narayanamma Institute of Technology and Science (GNITS) for women, Hyderabad, India
  • Vasavi College of Engineering (VCE), Hyderabad, India
  • Hyderabad Institute of Technology and Management (HITAM), Hyderabad, India 
  • K G Reddy College of Engineering and Technology, Hyderabad, India
  • Vincent Pallotti College of Engineering, Nagpur, Maharashtra, India
  • Saintgits College of Engineering, Kottayam, Kerala, India

The second cohort has the following five colleges:

  • B V Raju Institute of Technology (BVRIT) College of Engineering for Women, Hyderabad
  • Vasavi College of Engineering (VCE), Hyderabad, India
  • Hyderabad Institute of Technology and Management (HITAM), Hyderabad, India 
  • Vincent Pallotti College of Engineering, Nagpur, Maharashtra, India
  • Saintgits College of Engineering, Kottayam, Kerala, India

We have described our workshop activities in a couple of articles. Here is a link to the first one and this link will take your readers to the second one.

Q: What is the importance of working with other faculty members, and how have you approached this group?

SC:  The importance of working with faculty from other colleges is to scale our efforts to do research that has a social impact locally and globally. Here I refer to faculty from the colleges under the College Research Affiliate Program.

We mentor them for six months to develop IoT applications based on local issues. For example, we are working with Prof. Sreekanth Reddy, GNITS, Hyderabad, India, on IoT and oneM2M-based noise monitoring solution installed in a few of their college buses. Similarly, we are working with Prof. Shriraghavan Madbushi, SVPCET, Nagpur, India, on IoT and oneM2M-based smart water level monitoring in their college. Such projects focus on developing and deploying such solutions and doing collaborative research.

Q: What are some of the results of your initiatives?

SC: There have been several useful outcomes of these initiatives. I will mention three. First, more students and faculty know about oneM2M. I would estimate that we have reached over 600 students and 20-plus faculty in two cohorts.
Some of them also participate in other oneM2M activities. For example, one team from GNITS, Hyderabad, which comprised students and faculty, participated in an international hackathon on oneM2M held by KETI last year.
The second key outcome involves students who are doing their BTech thesis and internship with us. Several of them are converting to an MS by Research course at IIITH. Finally, some students and faculty are writing research publications with us. 

Q: So, what has been going on in the area of research?

SC: IIITH's Living Lab has oneM2M as its main component so that is a great resource to pursue our research interests. We talk about oneM2M’s horizontal architecture and the fact that it was designed to support IoT applications across multiple verticals. We see that at a practical level in IIITH where there are over 250 nodes corresponding to different IoT verticals deployed on our campus.
Research is ongoing on different oneM2M aspects, and few have already published a few international conferences on this topic.
There is also an active research collaboration with Prof. Thierry Monteil, INSA/Toulouse, on oneM2M activities while talks are going on with other national and international entities for collaboration. In addition, we have worked with IUDX and OCF to develop interfaces between oneM2M and different frameworks and standards.

Q: Are there ways for people to find out more about the Centre’s work?

SC: Yes, there is. Please visit Smart City Research Center on IIITH’s webpage to understand more about the work going at IIITH on IoT and oneM2M: