Dell, Intel, and Samsung are among the six companies who have come together to establish a new industry consortium focused on improving interoperability and defining the connectivity requirements for the billions of devices that will make up the Internet of Things (IoT).
The Open Interconnect Consortium (OIC) is focused 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, 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, utilizing existing and emerging wireless standards and will be designed to be compatible with a variety of operating systems.
Leaders from a broad range of industry vertical segments — from smart home and office solutions to automotive and more — will participate in the program. 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.
The founding companies say 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.
The Internet of Things also could be employed to combat climate change. According to AT&T and the Carbon War Room, global greenhouse gas emissions could be reduced by 9.1 billion metric tons by 2020, or 18.6 percent of all emissions in 2011, through the widespread adoption of machine-to-machine (M2M) technologies.
In June, Unilever, John Lewis and EE, the UK’s largest mobile and Internet provider, lent their support to a £1m Launchpad competition seeking game-changing innovations in Internet of Things-related technologies brewing in the UK. The competition is open to early-stage UK startups working within the London or Cambridge tech clusters that are developing ideas, prototypes or have existing businesses working within the Internet of Things space. The £1M in grant funding is to be shared between multiple winners; companies can apply for anything from £50K to £150K. The competition will also offer marketing and business support, mentorship and routes to market. Submissions must be received by September 3, 2014.