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White Paper on IoT Standards for Trade Facilitation

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WhitePaper_IoT_v1.pdf (application/pdf, 626.14 KB)

IoT is a network that connects uniquely identifiable “things” or devices to the Internet. These devices have sensing capabilities and can, potentially, be programmed. Through the exploitation of their
unique identification and sensing capabilities, information about these devices can be collected and the state of these devices can be changed.
Some of the key features of an IoT ecosystem include
• Possibilities for interconnections with and between devices
• Devices that are uniquely identifiable
• Sensing capability
• Embedded intelligence
• Communication capability
• Programmability
IoT ecosystems have the potential to make novel applications possible that facilitate cross border paperless trade through the use of connected devices that sense, collect, process, share and act on
data. Data such as temperature, humidity, location can be collected from IoT devices and can be used to power a number of applications ranging from the ability to ensure freshness of produce across a
supply chain, to asset location tracking, to detecting equipment failure in logistics and transportation.

IoT devices also have the ability to capture and record data in real time and in a continuous manner and to associate this data with unique IDs. Therefore, they can be used to trace the origin of data
from basic sensor readings even as this data is used by software applications to create complex derived information. This real time data can be fed into decision systems that are part of an international
supply chain for further action and automation as documented by the UN/CEFACT Smart container project.

IoT creates interesting opportunities for trade facilitation by providing the ability to create and exchange cross border electronic information without human interference, and thus in a more secure, effective, and economical manner. IoT systems can also be designed to ensure the integrity of data about the physical condition of things such as packaging, vehicles, and containers. In combination with other emerging technologies such as Blockchain, 5G, API’s and Cloud platforms,

IoT could have a huge impact the drive toward significant automation of international supply chains and the facilitation of cross border paperless trade. Given the huge interest in IoT technology, there are already many projects around the global trying to revolutionize supply chains with operational efficiencies created by IoT through better asset tracking, inventory management and the predictive maintenance of equipment. An interesting example of this is documented in the Smart Containers project of UN/CEFACT which looks at how smart containers that are standardized seagoing containers fitted with sensors are enabling door-to-door tracking and monitoring. Smart Containers have the potential to drive end-to-end visibility and transparency throughout the entire supply chain.

Given the widespread use of IoT within a wide range of varying systems with different properties and support for communication channels, this paper seeks to highlight the role of standards and how UN/CEFACT can play a role in terms of developing or extending existing technical specifications to maximize this technology’s value to UN/CEFACT’s constituency.

This paper’s therefore focuses on the role UN/CEFACT standards can play in defining data and process flow between IoT devices operated by various parties as part of an international supply chain and how
this data can be integrated into existing supply chain automation processes in an interoperable manner