Technology

AllSeen Alliance Aims to Standardize the Internet of Things

By / Dec 12, 2013 (iStock/Thinkstock)

The AllSeen Alliance, a new open-source group launched with the Linux Foundation’s help and a tech giant’s generosity, hopes to help your many devices talk to one another.

Imagine if it took one remote to control the washing machine and air conditioning, the TV and the garage door. The “Internet of Things,” a concept that’s been around for a few years, might well be the solution to that incredible possibility.

But there’s a problem—many of these “things” quite literally aren’t on the same wavelength. Solving it is the goal of the AllSeen Alliance, a cross-industry consortium that hopes to enable communication between systems regardless of platform—transitioning today’s mess of interfaces to tomorrow’s central hub of connected devices.

What it Does

The connectivity framework, built from Qualcomm’s AllJoyn open-source platform—which the tech giant handed over to the Linux Foundation this week—would open communication lines among products, applications, and services.

The goal? “We want to eliminate the concern over the transport layer,” Rob Chandhok, Qualcomm Connected Experiences’ president, told GigaOm .

Another way to think of this: Remember what plug-and-play did for computer peripherals? This would do the same thing for wirelessly connected devices.

Chandhok offered another analogy. “It’s like what HTTP and HTML did for the web. It didn’t matter if you had Ethernet or Wi-Fi. Everyone could build for the web,” he said.

Getting Others Involved

Seamless sharing lies at the core of the AllSeen Alliance’s approach. A single company, the organization’s website explains, cannot provide the interoperability needed to address cross-industry efforts.

That’s where the industry partners come in.

Panasonic, Sears Brand Management Corporation, Sharp, and LG are among 23 companies that have pledged to incorporate the AllSeen Alliance’s AllJoyn framework into their products, GigaOm reports. The range of brands— from healthcare and home to education, automatic, and enterprise systems—positions AllSeen Alliance to better broaden its reach.

Currently, the AllJoyn framework enables the exchange of information and configuration among nearby devices, such as controlling a room’s lighting or changing the temperature on a thermostat. It also makes it easy for a user to jump onto a network of connected devices and possible to stream audio on multiple speakers at once.

What’s more, the big idea may mean big things for the economy: According to Gartner, the expansion of the Internet of Things concept could add $1.9 trillion to the world economy by 2020.

The functionality features are endless—the possibilities are limitless. How would connected devices benefit you? Offer your thoughts in the comments.

Emma Beck

Emma Beck is a contributor to Associations Now. More »

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