Technology

The Latest Internet of Things Group? The Open Connectivity Foundation

By / Feb 29, 2016 (iStock/Thinkstock)

While the Open Connectivity Foundation is far from the only group focused on integrating the myriad Internet of Things approaches, the new organization hopes to use its wide membership base to its advantage.

Can you believe how many Internet of Things (IoT) groups exist today?

That’s because there are a lot of competing standards among various groups or company partnerships in this rapidly growing technology space. In 2013, AllSeen Alliance formed to standardize IoT function connectivity. Then, in 2014, the Thread Group and the Open Interconnect Consortium both came into play.

The latest effort to bring things together? The Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF), which can count Microsoft, Intel, Qualcomm, General Electric, Cisco, Samsung, Arris, CableLabs, and Electrolux on its list of more than 150 members.

Can the group put large competing companies together to advance tech and ambitiously “connect the next 25 billion devices for the Internet of Things”?

Big Plans

OCF sure hopes so. The group’s  ultimate goal is to make IoT creation and connectivity seamless, so products can better “talk” to each other in the future.

“The OCF will create a set of open specifications and protocols to enable devices from a variety of manufactures to securely and seamlessly interact with one another,” Microsoft said in a press release. “Regardless of the manufacturer, operating system, chipset or transport—devices that adhere to the OCF specifications will simply work together.”

OCF hopes to do this by building an open-source platform everyone can access to invent additional IoT functions, explained Aicha Evans, corporate vice president and general manager of Intel’s communications and devices group, in an PCWorld interview.

Evans noted that OCF, which will be based on an Apache code base, won’t set its own protocols.

Looking at the available networks, device functionality, and local spectrum, the foundation will help creators find the best way to link IoT communication for operations. OCF aims to have functions working on Linux, Android, and other platforms across the world.

The Differentiating Factors

Having well-known brands and solidified technology companies as members could bring strong results.

“Representing a significant cross-industry collaboration, OCF is the only organization comprised of technology suppliers at all levels (product, software, platform and silicon) dedicated to providing this key element of an IoT solution,” said Imad Sousou, Intel’s vice president of software and services.

Will OCF win out over the other IoT groups? That’s still to be determined. But OCF’s pledge of transparency, along with its members’ wide footprint and its goal of building open standards, could help it in the long run.

“By allowing providers to build on a single, open standard, OCF will drive secure interoperability for consumers, business, and industry, which is key to unlocking the massive opportunity, accelerating industry innovation, speeding product development and spurring adoption,” Sousou said.

Patrick deHahn

Patrick deHahn is a contributor to Associations Now. More »

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