Open Interconnect Consortium joins forces with EEBus for IoT standardization

As part of its mission to collaborate where it makes sense and avoid duplication of efforts when it comes to the Internet of Things (IoT), the Open Interconnect Consortium (OIC) announced plans to work with EEBus Initiative, a European non-profit organization focused on the smart home and smart grid.

The two organizations will collaborate on specification development and certification programs, with the intent to help ease interoperability.

It's a good example of how not all of the IoT standards are necessarily competitive, said David McCall of the OIC Liaison Task Group, who also serves as senior strategy planner in Wireless Products R&D at Intel. Intel is one of the founding members of the IOC, along with Samsung Electronics, Wind River, Dell and Atmel.

Much has been made of the myriad standards groups and marketing organizations that want to have some hand in the IoT, whether it's at a networking level or applications. McCall estimates there might be 25 or 30 different organizations to which he might be asked to compare OIC at any given time.

"The good news is these things are not as competitive" as they might be portrayed in the press or analyst reports, he said. In February, the OIC announced a strategic liaison agreement with the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) to share information that will help streamline interoperability for the IoT. The IIC's founding members include General Electric and AT&T (NYSE: T).

While the work with the IIC is ongoing, the expectation is that OIC products will hit the markets first in the consumer segment, McCall said. One reason for that is some consumer use cases don't carry the same strict requirements that occur in markets like industrial or automotive.

With EEBus, "if we didn't work together, there was a possibility we might be doing something rather similar, but different, which doesn't really do either of us any good," he said. By working together, "we can align our road maps" and take advantage of some of the different strengths of the organizations.

At some level, there will always be some amount of fragmentation in the IoT world. "We're not expecting everybody to stop using Bluetooth and start using Wi-Fi," he said, noting some technologies are better at certain tasks than others. "But at the level we're working at, for the developer, they may not necessarily need to be experts" in those areas. They will just communicate without having to know the intricacies of Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Zigbee or ZWave, for example. "What we're trying to deliver is as much interoperability as we can in the short term, but also some potential path toward consolidation where it makes sense."

One of the things the founders of OIC recognized when it formed the group last year is the need for both standards and open source, he said. 

The OIC was founded in July 2014 and now includes more than 50 members. IoTivity, hosted by the Linux Foundation, is an open source software framework that enables devices, products and services for the IoT, and that project plans to release a reference implementation of the IoT standards being defined by the OIC. 

The idea behind IoTivity is to allow a variety of devices, built by different manufacturers and running different operating systems, to connect with each other. Having both the standard and the open source implementation will help ensure interoperability among products and services regardless of maker and across multiple industries, including smart home, automotive, industrial automation and healthcare, according to OIC.

The AllSeen Alliance, whose backers include Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) and Cisco, is also promoting an open source software effort designed to connect IoT devices.For more:

For more:
- see the press release

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