|By Roger Strukhoff||
|August 7, 2014 11:15 PM EDT||
"Everyone loves standards so much, they each want one of their own." This bit of wisdom is one of the oldest chestnuts in the tech business. The Internet of Things will not change it.
In that context we saw the creation of the Open Interconnect Consortium (OIC), with Intel, Atmel, Broadcom, Dell, Samsung, and Wind River as members. The OIC joins the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC), the IPSO Alliance, the HomePlug Alliance, the AllSeen Alliance, and IEEE's efforts to create order out of chaos within the IoT.
The OIC's founding statement says it "will seek to define connectivity requirements to ensure the interoperability of billions of devices projected to come online by 2020." It refers to IDC research that foresees 212 billion things within the IoT by 2020.
Defining "open" is another of the great challenges of modern IT, and the OIC is clear in its commitment to open source. Says Jim Zemlin, executive director of The Linux Foundation, "Open source is about collaboration and about choice.The Open Interconnect Consortium is yet another proof point how open source helps to fuel innovation."
Zemlin added, "We look forward to the OIC's contribution in fostering an open environment to support the billions of connected devices coming online."
The OIC will be seeking new members as it evolves, according to its founding statement.
Cynical or Realistic?
It's easy enough to think of IoT alliance trend as cynical, with big companies trying to push little companies and each other around, rather than win in a competitive marketplace. But it's much more than that, in my view. Chaos is a huge impediment to adoption, so hammering out common ways of communicating throughout the breadth and depth of the IoT is good for everyone's business.
Making standards is no different than making laws or sausages, in Bismarck's memorable phrase, and not pretty to watch. I served in a tech alliance for a six-month period many years ago, and can attest to the red faces, slammed phones (yes, you could slam old-style desk telephones), and arguments that often turned personal in nature.
In the end, in my case as with all others, a combination of de facto and de jure standards emerges, the tech industry muddles on, and trillions of dollars of new business is created.
See You At @ThingsExpo
We'll cover this ongoing issue in the coming weeks, and have a healthy dose of it at our upcoming @ThingsExpo conference Nov 4-6 in Santa Clara.