Wireless IoT Forum launched to tackle IoT fragmentation

The Wireless IoT Forum has been launched to support the global deployment of the Internet of Things by tackling the current fragmentation of the market and the absence of standards.

Although not a standards organisation, the forum aims to provide requirements and priorities to standards bodies where there is a lack of standards, such as in the field of long-range wireless connectivity, and drive consensus where there are competing standards, such as in home device discovery.

The first founding members will be unveiled at the M2M World Congress in London on Apr. 28. Will Franks, previously CTO and founder of Ubiquisys, has been appointed as chairman and William Webb as CEO. Webb also currently holds the position of president of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and has held senior positions with UK regulator Ofcom.

"The wireless Internet of Things is bringing connectivity and control to an order of magnitude more devices. However, there is a very real risk of fragmented standards and technologies holding back the development of the market," said Webb. "There has also been a tremendous amount of work done in the IoT world across a wide range of technologies. As in the cellular world, the success of this will lie in the promotion of open standards."

The establishment of the Wireless IoT Forum comes in a week that has also seen IBM say it will invest $3 billion (€2.8 billion) in a new IoT unit, and Bouygues Telecom launch an IoT network in France based on LoRa (long range) technology. The French operator is a founding member of the LoRa alliance announced at this year's CES trade fair in Las Vegas.

The new Wireless IoT Forum plans to bring together all the various strands of technology developments to ensure interoperability and open standards, and said it will work with all industry participants to achieve this goal.

It is certainly not alone in attempting to bring some uniformity to the tangled web of IoT.

The oneM2M standards organisation was established by seven standards bodies in 2012 to address growing industry fears that the oft-quoted forecast of "50 billion connected devices by 2020" would not be achieved.

The organisation is very clear on its remit: to enable the Internet of Things by providing a standardised service layer that runs on top of the multiple and disparate connectivity options, platforms and technologies that lie beneath.

It recently issued its Release 1 global standards, a set of 10 specifications that cover API specifications, security solutions, mapping as well as common industry protocols such as CoAP, MQTT and HTTP.

For more:
- see this Wireless IoT Forum release
- see this IBM release

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