Santa Clara, Calif. – Technology industry leaders – Atmel, Broadcom, Dell, Intel, Samsung Electronics, and Wind River – have joined together to form a new industry consortium to develop a connectivity framework that is open, secure and manageable for the products that make up the Internet of Things (IoT). The focus of the Open Interconnect Consortium (OIC) is to define a common communications framework based on industry standard technologies to wirelessly connect and manage the flow of information among all IoT devices, regardless of form factor, operating system or service provider. The goal is to ensure the interoperability of devices, including PCs, smartphones, tablets, wearable devices, as well as home and industrial appliances.
“The explosion of the Internet of Things is a transformation that will have a major impact on our power to do more through technology. Having a connectivity framework that is open, secure and manageable is critical to delivering the foundational elements of that transformation,” said Glen Robson, vice president and CTO for Client Solutions at Dell, in a statement. “Consumers and businesses alike will need a strong base upon which to build the vast array of solutions enabled by a global Internet of Things. From our earliest days, Dell has embraced industry standards as a means to bring the best technology solutions to our customers, and the Open Interconnect Consortium is very much aligned with this model.”
The move is welcomed by the industry as home and industrial connectivity devices and systems are expected to takeoff over the next several years. In 2014 alone, the global market for connected, or Internet-enabled devices, is expected to surpass 6 billion units in 2014, as new products including cell phones, tablets and computers enter the market, according to IHS Technology. By revenue, the IoT device market is expected to grow from $9.5 billion in 2014 to $46 billion in 2024, according to Yole Développement. Yole analysts expect most of the added value in IoT solutions to come from data processing.
“Open source is about collaboration and about choice. The Open Interconnect Consortium is yet another proof point how open source helps to fuel innovation,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director of The Linux Foundation, in a statement. “We look forward to the OIC’s contribution in fostering an open environment to support the billions of connected devices coming online.”
The OIC expects to deliver a specification, an open source implementation, and a certification program for wirelessly connecting devices, based on software and engineering resource contributions by member companies. The specification will include a range of connectivity solutions, using a mix of existing and emerging wireless standards, which will be compatible with a variety of operating systems. The first open source code will target specific requirements for smart home and office solutions. Specifications for other IoT applications including automotive, healthcare and industrial are expected to follow.
“In the Internet of Things era, everything – from PCs, smartphones and tablets to home and industrial appliances and new wearable form factors – should effortlessly connect and communicate with each other, regardless of who makes the device,” said Jong-deok Choi, executive vice president and deputy head of Software R&D Center at Samsung Electronics, in a statement. “We invite other industry leaders, whatever their background and vertical specialism, to join us in defining and embracing a common communications framework for the Internet of Things.”
Leaders from a broad range of industry vertical segments will participate in the program to 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, said the OIC.
Additional member companies including leading appliance and device manufacturers, service and solution providers, and chipset manufacturers are expected to join OIC in the coming months. Electronic component manufacturers including semiconductor makers are expected to be part of that value chain. Like many semiconductor manufacturers, Intel Corp., for example, is focusing on faster growing high-tech markets including the IoT. Intel reported earlier this year that new products for the health, tablet, smartphone and home connectivity markets would help Intel drive growth.
“The rise and ultimate success of the Internet of Things depends on the ability for devices and systems to securely and reliably interconnect and share information,” said Doug Fisher, Intel corporate vice president and general manager of the Software and Services Group, in a statement. “This requires common frameworks, based on truly open, industry standards. Our goal in founding this new consortium is to solve the challenge of interoperable connectivity for the Internet of Things without tying the ecosystem to one company’s solution.”