The Internet of Things market will be worth $7.1 trillion by 2020, according to a study by the International Data Corporation (IDC). To keep tabs on the market, Samsung, Intel, Dell, Atmel and Broadcom have joined forces to launch the Open Interconnect Consortium (OIC), an organization that will set standards for connecting billions of household gadgets and appliances.
But the OIC is not the only consortium to focus on the Internet of Things: Haier, LG Electronics, Panasonic, Qualcomm, Sharp, Technicolor, Silicon Image and TP-LINK announced the AllSeen Alliance in December, which now has a total of 51 members. The organizations involved in AllSeen will work off of Qualcomm’s AllJoyn open source project as the initial framework. The existence of two powerful consortiums could cause a debate over standards in the future, but the OIC said it will share specifications and code with other groups to establish a common Internet of Things interface. The OIC added that its platform will emphasize security and authentication.
What are the Internet of Things? Internet of Things is a concept where the Internet moves beyond desktops and laptops. These include consumer electronics, household appliances, jet engines, oil rig drills and entire factories. From a consumer standpoint, users would be able to automate processes like a thermostat adjusting the temperature of your home after you leave. Another example is a GPS device pinging you automatically with an alternative route if there is a traffic jam on the way to work.
“Our goal in founding this new consortium is to solve the challenge of interoperable connectivity for the Internet of Things without tying the ecosystem to one company’s solution,” said Intel corporate vice president and general manager of Software and Services Group Doug Fisher.
Apple and Google are two of the biggest players in the Internet of Things market. Google Glass provides fast access to information by speaking commands to the microphone built into the smart eyewear device. This year, Google acquired smart thermostat company Nest for $3.2 billion and WiFi-enabled security camera company Dropcam for $555 million. Last month at WWDC, Apple announced a new smart home framework called HomeKit, which can be used for controlling connected devices inside of a user’s home.
The OIC aims to establish a single solution that covers interoperability across multiple vertical markets and will work on various operating systems. The OIC specification will utilize existing and emerging standards like WiFi, WiFi Direct, Bluetooth, Zigbee, Zwave and Ant+. The OIC will certify devices that are compliant with its standards.