Microsoft joins Qualcomm-backed connected home standards group

Qualcomm gained an ally in Microsoft in its efforts to develop common standards for connected home equipment, but faces a challenge convincing rival chip makers to follow its path.

The U.S. software giant joined 50 other tech companies as a member of the Qualcomm-backed AllSeen Alliance on Tuesday, in a bid to standardise connections between electronic equipment in homes including light bulbs and thermostats, Reuters reported.

LG Electronics, Panasonic, HTC, and Cisco are among the other members of the Alliance, which reveals in its mission statement that it aims to develop "an interoperable peer connectivity and communications framework" for "devices and applications in the Internet of Everything" (IoE), based on a Qualcomm-developed connection standard named AllJoyn.

Qualcomm's chip making rivals, however, are not following the company's path. One source told Reuters that rival companies could launch a competing standards body as early as next week, as players jostle for position in the nascent IoE sector.

Hopes of developing a single set of standards appear further diminished by Apple and Google, which Reuters reported are developing their own connected home services and pursuing separate partnerships covering products including thermostats, smoke detectors, and garage door controls.

Sister publication FierceWireless reported in May that the AllSeen Alliance is focused on using mesh networking to connect home appliances, while Apple is pursuing connections via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth that would place its smartphones and tablets as the central point of control.

Standardising connected home connectivity is also an element in a 5G development cooperation deal agreed between the European Commission and South Korea's government in June. The agreement aims to deliver common standards for the next generation technology, which will be used to deliver services including connected homes, smart energy grids, healthcare, smart car, and entertainment services, the EC explained.

Meanwhile hopes of generating consumer interest in connected home products were raised in May, when UK retailers Carphone Warehouse and Dixons Retail agreed a £3.7 billion (€4.6 billion/$6.3 billion) merger.

The alliance combines CPW's expertise in mobile devices with Dixons consumer electronics products, and is tipped to raise awareness of IoT among the public.

For more:
- see this Reuters article
- see the AllSeen Alliance's mission statement

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