MWC 2016: Qualcomm Fights IoT Fragmentation By… Joining ANOTHER Consortium?


BLOG: Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf tells TechWeek that fragmentation is hurting IoT, but it has joined yet another IoT standards group with Intel

Last week Qualcomm announced it would be joining forces with members of the Open Internet Consortium to form a new Internet of Things standards group called the Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF).

The chipmaker has, since 2013, been championing its own interoperability standards group for IoT, called the AllSeen Alliance, which actually worked against members in who were part of the Open Internet Consortium club – namely Intel.

But this new group sees the two cooperate to try and move the standards discussion forward when it comes to interoperation between various devices in the Internet of Things.

IoT Fragementation

steve mollenkopf qualcomm squareThe consortium also counts Cisco, Samsung and Microsoft as members, with Microsoft’s devices group executive vice president Terry Myerson claiming that Redmond believes deeply in the potential and vision of the OCF.

But the AllSeen Alliance remains active, and very much a different entity, according to a spokesperson who represents the group, and Qualcomm still remains a member.

In an email sent to Gigaom, Meredith Solberg of the Linux Foundation said: “AllSeen is not combining with OIC to form OCF and we remain a separate organisation.”

Isn’t this just the fragmentation that Qualcomm just called out as being the enemy?

It’s 2016, the standards argument is yet to be settled, and we have new groups being formed whilst older groups still exist.

“We believe that fragmentation is the enemy of IoT,” wrote Qualcomm in its blog post announcing the OCF. “That’s why we’re working with these like-minded companies to invest in the future of IoT.”

“No one reasonably disagrees with this idea. To gain the benefits that IoT promises, there must be a single, open, secure and interoperable framework that all IoT products and services can stand upon.”

TechWeekEurope spoke to Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona to try and clear up the confusion around Qualcomm’s fragmentation message.

“It is important to us there isn’t fragmentation,” Mollenkopf said. “The difficulty is that there are already several different standards, and I think it will be that way for some time.”

Mollenkopf said Qualcomm’s recent intent has been to participate in forums that help IoT standards to grow, and that working with the largest groups allows Qualcomm to prepare to build for scale.

“Hopefully this is a way to move the ball forward, and make it easier for things to connect to the Internet,” he explained. “And if that means partnering with other people in the ecosystem then we’re pleased to do it.”

For now, all it seems it that yet another standards group has been formed and that a unified standards approach is still years away, despite IoT heavyweights like Qualcomm now openly admitting how far the standards arguments is holding back IoT.

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