The Internet of Things is growing rapidly as new devices, across all industries, are created nearly every day. One very important aspect of the Internet of Things (IoT) is that all those Things—devices, services, and data—work together. This creates a need for universally accepted standards and software—and how companies that embrace these standards will help define the future of the IoT.
Consider this example proposed by Dr. Richard Mark Solely, Executive Director of the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC):
"When I set the alarm clock to wake up early in order to pick up my sister-in-law at the airport, I trust the airlines to deliver her at the promised time—though I know that doesn't often happen. I'd rather set my alarm, as part of my home automation system, to wake me up an hour before her aircraft actually arrives. That's a simple thing to say, but a difficult thing to implement today. It requires 'scraping' the airline's website for arrival information, translating that to whatever my home automation or alarm clock might use for input and integrating the two."
Developing on common ground
Done right, the Internet of Things should work seamlessly, connecting devices with information—and that's what many tech companies are now working to accomplish. But to do so, in an organized fashion, requires different companies to come together under the umbrella of the IIC and the AllSeen Alliance.
According to Greg Burns, Chair of the AllSeen Alliance's Technical Steering Committee, "the Internet of Everything requires a cross-industry, cross-platform and interoperable solution that discovers and connects devices, appliances, systems, and services regardless of brand; and most importantly standardizes the language and terminology that devices use to communicate with each other."
That's why it's the AllSeen Alliance's mission to create a common, open code base that enables interoperability and security among a variety of devices. At the same time, the IIC (which extends across industry, academia, and government) is working to identify IoT best practices and create common standards and architectures for all new developments in this field.
The new industrial Internet
As Kevin Dallas, General Manager of the Windows IoT Group at Microsoft, recently wrote: "It's a big moment for the industry—do we adopt a standards-based approach that enables scale and interoperability, or do we allow the industry to fracture into miniature ecosystems that encourage lock-in and forces customers to work harder to get the benefit out of the more than 212 billion 'connect things' IDC predicted we'll see by the end of 2020?"
Dallas compares it to the early days of the web and doubts that the Internet would have been so impactful so quickly if the http protocol standard hadn't been widely adopted. According to Dallas, "no single company will solve these problems and the need to make sure we are on the right path together is stronger than ever as new devices and services are launched almost every day."
Why work together now
Without universal software and standards, the devices that constitute the IoT will exist as disparate technologies, locked into their separate worlds of operability. To prevent companies from expending effort and resources unnecessarily and the IoT from splintering, it's necessary that companies work together now.