While most organizations are not waiting for formal ratification of Internet of Things (IoT) standards before moving ahead with projects, the work being done by various IoT standards bodies today is likely to have a profound effect when the time comes to connect various IoT platforms together. With that goal in mind, the Open Interconnect Consortium (OIC) announced today that it is acquiring the assets of UPnP Forum, an organization that had been created to promote networking standards inside the home.
While most IT organizations may not be particularly concerned about what’s occurring inside the home, as IoT advances, most homes are going to be connected to multiple IoT projects. Whether it’s something as simple as connecting appliances to the Internet or downloading updates that add new features to a home entertainment system, IoT will eventually blur the line between consumer endpoints and backend enterprise IT systems.
With the support of Cisco, Intel, GE Software, Samsung and other vendors, the OIC earlier this year unveiled a specification to create a common communications framework for all IoT devices. Mike Richmond, executive director of the OIC, says UPnP will now essentially function as a sub-group within OIC that is specifically focused on addressing the home network aspect of creating a common communications framework for IoT.
Richmond says the melding of the two organizations is a first step toward avoiding fragmentation of IoT standards. While the current absence of those standards is not slowing down IoT projects, Richmond says down the road a common set of standards will be critical when it comes to, for example, connecting vehicles to not only traffic lights, but also devices in the home.
Of course, the OIC is not the only body trying to address IoT standards. Last week ARM, Cisco, Dell, Intel, Microsoft Corp. and the Princeton University Edge Laboratory formed the OpenFog Consortium, which is committed to advancing distributed computing in a way that better addresses IoT applications. There’s also an Industrial Internet Consortium that addresses the usage of the Internet in the context of industrial machinery, among others.
Overall, analysts forecast that there will be over 21 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2020. But a world of difference exists between simply connecting a device to the Internet and actually creating a programmable framework through which all those devices can be commonly addressed. To accomplish that requires IoT standards.