16.07.14

Firms lay framework for Internet of Things

A big step toward the practical reality of the Internet of Things has been made with the launch of two collaborative groups which will work to ensure the interconnection of systems, sensors and devices in the future is quick and easy. Tuesday saw the launch of Thread, a standard protocol for IoT which is being driven by a handful of companies including Nest Labs (Google’s subsidiary) and Samsung.

This comes a week after the non-profit corporation the Open Interconnect Consortium (OIC) was launched by six companies, including Dell, Intel and again – Samsung. The OIC states it aims to focus on “improving interoperability and defining the connectivity requirements for the billions of devices that will make up the Internet of Things.”

Nest president Chris Boross has stated that he sees Thread as complimenting the OIC framework rather than competing with it. Next already sells products that use the Thread wireless network protocol such as thermostats and smoke alarms. The protocol works with low-power connections to preserve the battery life of sensors and devices by connecting across different networks.

The Thread Group will begin certifying products under the protocol from 2015.

OIC has stated that its member companies will contribute software and engineering resources to the development of its protocol specification, open source implementation, and a certification program, all with a view of accelerating the development of the IoT. The OIC specification will encompass a range of connectivity solutions, utilising existing and emerging wireless standards and will be designed to be compatible with a variety of operating systems.

Jong-deok Choi from Samsung Electronics said: “In the Internet of Things era, everything – from PCs, smartphones and tablets to home and industrial appliances and new wearable form factors – should effortlessly connect and communicate with each other, regardless of who makes the device.
“We invite other industry leaders, whatever their background and vertical specialism, to join us in defining and embracing a common communications framework for the Internet of Things.”

The two groups will likely be keeping a close eye on Apple which has launched its own platform, HomeKit, which syncs devices using an iOS 8 app.