Seamless device-to-device connectivity between whatever devices a user feels should be seamlessly connecting is an obvious goal—for the users, at least.
It is still the case, of course, that the majority of vendors consider this notion the ultimate horror, for it denies them the chance to own as many user process steps as possible, even if their solution to any particular step is next to useless.
To the vendors, it has become traditional that proprietary is seen as perfect. So it is good to see a group of them biting this particular bullet in an appropriate fashion, by establishing the Open Interconnect Consortium to advance interoperability for the Internet of Things. If the bite is hard enough, it could create one of the most important developments—both physically and conceptually—that users have seen in a long, long time.
The consortium has been set up to define the connectivity requirements needed to ensure the interoperability of billions of devices projected to come online over the coming years—from PCs, smartphones and tablets to home and industrial appliances and new wearable form factors.
If the results of its labours come to positive fruition, this could be one of the most important developments to occur since the cloud emerged, as the core benefits of the cloud—interoperability and collaboration between any and all applications and services, and by definition the devices on which they run—are the keys to an information management and utilisation environment whose potential can only be imagined at the moment.
It intends to deliver a specification, an open source implementation, and a certification program for wirelessly connecting all such devices. The first iteration of the code will target the specific requirements for smart home and office solutions, with more use case scenarios to follow.
The launch members of the Consortium include a good collection of big name industry players, including Atmel Corporation, Broadcom, Dell, Intel, Samsung, and Wind River. They are joining forces to focus on defining a common communications framework based on industry standard technologies to wirelessly connect and intelligently manage the flow of information among personal computing and emerging IoT devices. This will be regardless of form factor, operating system or service provider.
Member companies will contribute software and engineering resources to the development of a protocol specification, open source implementation, and a certification program, all with a view of accelerating the development of the IoT. The OIC specification will encompass a range of connectivity solutions, utilising existing and emerging wireless standards. It will be designed to be compatible with a variety of operating systems.
According to the OIC, leaders from a broad range of industry vertical segments—from smart home and office solutions to automotive and more—will also participate in the program. This will help ensure that OIC specifications and open source implementations will help companies design products that manage and exchange information under changing conditions, power and bandwidth, and even without an Internet connection.
It is certainly to be hoped that these representatives both become the real driving force behind the standards that are set, and understand the power and influence that is now being offered to them.
The first OIC open source code will target the specific requirements of smart home and office solutions. For example, the specifications could make it simple to remotely control and receive notifications from smart home appliances or enterprise devices using securely provisioned smartphones, tablets or PCs.
Possible consumer solutions include the ability to remotely control household systems to save money and conserve energy.
In the enterprise, employees and visiting suppliers might securely collaborate while interacting with screens and other devices in a meeting room. Specifications for additional IoT opportunities including automotive, healthcare and industrial are expected to follow.