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IoT Data Foundations Project

The term Internet of Things (IoT) has reached widespread use in the last several years. IoT systems consisting of small hardware devices capable of transmitting data wirelessly for informative or actionable purposes are present in many homes, appliances, cars and accessories. Additionally, the widespread usage of IoT devices and their data is promoting their increasing use in commercial buildings, parking lots, and city infrastructure.

For the past three years, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Public Safety Communication Research division (PSCR), in research sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate, studied IoT devices for first responders to determine how these devices can be employed to meet the needs of the first responder in the field.

In April of 2019, PSCR held a Public Safety Internet of Things Roundtable at the NIST Laboratories in Boulder, Colorado. During this roundtable, several issues regarding the lack of IoT utilization in public safety came to light. Foundationally, there was a concern that the information required by public safety, as well as the information provided by these devices, was not well documented or consistent and, therefore, could not be reliably utilized between systems. These foundational concerns implied that there could be no expectation of reliable information provided by a system and consequently no widespread usage of IoT devices throughout public safety jurisdictions.

Over the course of 2020, PSCR conducted interviews with first responder professionals across all fields, in which their current informational and technological requirements were discussed. The outcomes formed a basis for a series of foundational data structures for use within public safety IoT devices. These structures were documented in a DHS publication “Internet of Things Data Foundations for First Responders”, which can be found at: This document provides a potential model of the informational requirements as independent software objects to demonstrate how a baseline consistency in IoT product development could hypothetically be achieved.

This website aims to give visitors an overview of the information detailed in the aforementioned document. We would not only like to present the key structures from that document, but the website also provides a mechanism for visitors to provide feedback on any key information that might be missing, or any other issues on the existing data. The feedback form can be found here. We are looking for inputs from interested parties within the first responder communities, technical industry professionals, or academics with knowledge of the IoT or public safety fields. The form can be submitted anonymously, or contact information may be provided in order to have the PSCR researchers follow up for further discussion. We look forward to working together with this community to help expand IoT technologies for first responders.

Created March 26, 2021, Updated May 3, 2021