Tech Titans Form Consortium For IoT Connectivity

Internet of things fibre cable circuit board network © asharkyu Shutterstock

Dell, Intel, Samsung and others team up to develop the necessary connectivity for the Internet of Things

Leading players in the tech industry including Dell, Intel, Samsung, Broadcom, Atmel and Wind River have teamed up to create the ‘Open Interconnect Consortium‘ (OIC).

The consortium seeks to advance the connectivity and interoperability of the Internet of Things devices, via the creation of a specification or standard that will allow billions of gadgets and devices (smartphones, heating thermostats, cookers etc) to communication with each.

Open Source

The term Internet of Things (IoT) refers to a collection of technologies that introduce connectivity into everyday devices and appliances, also referred to as machine-to-machine (M2M) communication.

The OIC said that it intends to deliver a specification, an open source implementation, and a certification program for wirelessly connecting devices. Its open source code will initially target requirements around the smart home and office solutions, but more real-life scenarios will follow eventually.

Internet of Things - Shutterstock - © Mert Toker“Leaders from a broad range of industry vertical segments – from smart home and office solutions to automotive and more – will participate in the program,” said the OIC in a statement. “This will help ensure that OIC specifications and open source implementations will help companies design products that intelligently, reliably and securely manage and exchange information under changing conditions, power and bandwidth, and even without an Internet connection.”

“Open source is about collaboration and about choice. The Open Interconnect Consortium is yet another proof point how open source helps to fuel innovation,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director of The Linux Foundation. “We look forward to the OIC’s contribution in fostering an open environment to support the billions of connected devices coming online.”

“The explosion of the Internet of Things is a transformation that will have a major impact on our power to do more through technology,” said Glen Robson, vice president and CTO for Client Solutions at Dell. “Having a connectivity framework that is open, secure and manageable is critical to delivering the foundational elements of that transformation.”

“In the Internet of Things era, everything – from PCs, smartphones and tablets to home and industrial appliances and new wearable form factors – should effortlessly connect and communicate with each other, regardless of who makes the device,” said Jong-deok Choi, executive vice president and deputy head of Software R&D Center at Samsung Electronics. “We invite other industry leaders, whatever their background and vertical specialism, to join us in defining and embracing a common communications framework for the Internet of Things.”

Rival Standards?

Many experts agree that the IoT is a great concept, but it is in need of some standards. And despite the fine-sounding rhetoric from the OIC, the arrival of another consortium looking at IoT connectivity could see the possibility of competing standards.

Indeed, last year, experts warned that the deployment of Internet of Things could be held back by too many competing standards.

And that warning seems to have been borne out, as Qualcomm, Microsoft, Cisco, HTC, Symantec for example all support the AllSeen Alliance, which also aims to establish how smart devices work together.

Meanwhile Apple and Google are developing their own solutions in these areas – Google with its open Nest API, and Apple with its HomeKit.

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