Tag Archives: Open Interconnect Consortium

OIC releases Internet of Things connectivity framework


IoTivity is an open-source software framework that enables devices, products and services for the Internet of Things.


While the number of connected devices are rapidly growing, there still exists a need for shared standards for the Internet of Things (IoT).

Last July, Atmel teamed up with several tech heavyweights to establish a new industry group focused on improving interoperability and streamlining connectivity. Now, the Open Interconnect Consortium (OIC) — which has more than 50 members and counting — has launched the the Preview Release version of its IoT certification and standard, IoTivity.

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“The ability for devices and machines to communicate will unleash a whole new world of technology innovation. Open-source software and collaborative development are the building blocks to get us there,” explained Jim Zemlin, Linux Foundation Executive Director. “IoTivity is an exciting opportunity for the open-source community to help advance this work.”

As a Linux Foundation Collaborative Project, IoTivity is governed by an independent steering group that liaises with the OIC. The project is open to all and includes RESTful-based APIs. It is expected to be available in various programming languages for a variety of operating systems and hardware platforms. In the next few months, the consortium will develop and release a 1.0 standard specification. At the same time, the IoTivity project will release a full open-source implementation of that specification.

Interested? Head over to IoTivity’s official page here.

Thread Group grows to 50-plus members

The Thread Group — an industry alliance chartered with guiding the widespread adoption of Thread, the new IP-based low-power wireless networking protocol designed specifically for the home — has revealed that the consortium has grown to more than 50 members since membership opened up back on October 1, 2014.

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The initiative was launched earlier this year by industry heavyweights Nest, Samsung and ARM to accelerate the adoption of its IPv6-using networking protocol. The announcement followed the formation of the Open Interconnect Consortium, another group backed by major industry players to advocate and help spur development of the Internet of Things.

Atmel, who was a founding member of the Open Interconnect Consortium, now joins a growing Thread Group roster of IoT companies, including Energizer Holdings, Whirlpool Corporation, Keen Home, Kwikset, Pacific Gas & Electric Company, SALTO SYSTEMS, UL, and WigWag.

Aside from its newest members, the Thread Group is now working with UL to manage the process of certifying Thread-based products and Granite River Labs to develop hardware test services, ensuring that developers have the tools necessary to build, test and certify their IoT solutions. The Thread product certification process is expected to be available in the first half of 2015, officials shared in its recent press release.

“In a matter of months, we launched the Thread Group, selected UL to run our product certification lab and on-boarded more than 50 new member companies,” said Chris Boross, president of the Thread Group and technical product marketing manager at Nest. “This momentum paves the way for the first Thread-enabled products in 2015. Additionally, the strong interest in Thread underscores the industry’s excitement for Thread’s benefits and the future of the connected home.”

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UL will manage the product certification process, working closely with Granite River Labs to develop the test harness. This combined effort will ensure that product developers have a seamless experience building, testing and certifying Thread-enabled products. Thread product certification is expected to be available in the first half of 2015.

“After a thorough review process, we selected UL because of their strong reputation as a leader in safety testing and validation as well as their wireless testing expertise,” explained Skip Ashton, Thread Group VP of Technology. “With our test house in place, we can start the thorough certification process for Thread-enabled products and enable our members to deliver reliable, interoperable connected devices to homes as quickly as possible. Our priority is to ensure that consumers consistently have a very positive experience with Thread-branded products right out of the box.”

Thread technology was originally designed to bypass the technical roadblocks that have prevented the widespread adoption of the IoT in the home. The IP-based low-power wireless networking protocol enables product developers to create — and consumers to enjoy — products that easily and securely connect to a low-power wireless mesh network, with direct Internet and cloud access for every device.

Using proven standards such as IPv6 technology with 6LoWPAN and standard 802.15.4 radios as its foundation, Thread offers product developers numerous technological advantages over existing wireless standards. Specifically, it gives them a reliable low-power, self-healing, and secure network that makes it simple for people to connect more than 250 devices in the home to each other and to the cloud for easy control and access from anywhere.

Interested in learning more? You can access the entire press announcement here.

The Open Interconnect Consortium just got bigger

One of the groups working to standardize the Internet of Things (IoT) has just gotten a bit bigger — 27 members bigger, in fact. The Open Interconnect Consortium (OIC), an industry association focused on networking for the IoT, announced that its membership has now reached 32 members.

The OIC — which was formed back in July by Atmel, Broadcom, Dell, Intel, Samsung and Wind River — seeks to define and streamline connectivity requirements to better improve interoperability between billions of IoT devices. The standard will be an open specification that will facilitate the IoT from mere concept into a reality that benefits consumers, developers and end users alike.

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“Atmel is excited about our participation in OIC to establish an open source framework that goes beyond the digital home and supports services for multiple verticals including consumer, industrial and automotive markets,” said Kaivan Karimi, Atmel Vice President and General Manager of Wireless MCUs. “Together with other industry leaders, we are committed to building a strong technology infrastructure for the Internet of Things; one that is instrumental in solving the pain points where other industry standards fall short today.”

New member companies include Acer, ActnerLab, Allion, Aepona, Cisco, Cryptosoft Ltd, Eyeball Networks, Global Channel Resource, Gluu, IIOT Foundation, InFocus, Laplink Software, Mashery, McAfee, MediaTek, Metago, NewAer, Nitero, OSS Nokalva Inc., Realtek Semiconductor Corp., Remo Software, Roost, SmartThings, Samsung Electro-Mechanics, Thug Design, VMC and Zula.

These member companies will contribute software and engineering resources to the development of a 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, utilizing existing and emerging wireless standards and will be designed to be compatible with a variety of operating systems.

“We are following a proven path of innovation with the OIC, by encouraging industry-wide collaboration, and our board members represent our commitment to provide a standard across a broad range of market sectors facing challenges from emerging IoT technology trends,” explained Jong-Deok Choi, OIC President and Samsung EVP and Deputy Head of Software R&D Center.

We look forward to partnering with each of the aforementioned organizations as we look to inch closer to interoperability and overcome connectivity challenges along the way. From home automation and smart metering to wearables and other IoT applications, a new generation of connected products is upon us. These Internet and wireless enabled devices embedded with microcontrollers will give ordinary “things” new powers. As we work toward defining the standards, ATMEL | SMART MCUs are helping to enabling that intelligent world by bringing those connected ’things’ online.

Open Interconnect Consortium and Hypercat collaborate on IoT interoperability

The UK Government’s Hypercat standard is collaborating with the Open Interconnect Consortium (OIC) to develop and ensure the interoperability of the 212 billion devices projected to be connected to the Internet by 2020, CBR reports.

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The Internet of Things (IoT) describes a (soon not too) futuristic world, where all sorts of once-ordinary objects and electronics devices will one day be linked to the Internet. With billions of everyday objects forecasted to become web-enabled by 2020, it’s evident that uniform standards are a necessity. Simply stated, we need to ensure that so many things don’t have so many different parts.

Hypercat, which is comprised of 40 UK-based tech firms including IBM, ARM and BT, is a specification that allows applications to ask data hubs what types of data it holds and what permission it needs to ask them, making sense of it without human involvement. It can browse machines, searches by metadata and uses standards such as HTTPS, Restful APIs and JSON as a data format.

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Whereas the recently-unveiled Open Interconnect Consortium (OIC), formed by Atmel, Broadcom, Dell, Intel, Samsung and Wind River, has sought out to also establish a new industry group focused on improving interoperability and streamlining connectivity. The collection of companies aspires to define a common communications framework based on industry standard technologies to wirelessly connect and intelligently manage the flow of information among personal computing and emerging IoT devices, regardless of form factor, operating system or service provider.

“We actually have OIC’s input into the Hypercat standard so we’re not competing against them,” Justin Anderson, CEO and Founder of Flexeye, told CBR.

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“We recognize that Intel and Samsung are creating and have other problems that need to be solved. But we are in discussion with them to ensure that the problems that we’re looking to solve are not the same problems that they’re applying their resources to solve. That would end up as an issue where you’ve got two competing standards at a particular point, so clearly that would be daft.”

“Part of our job is to insure that we are working and collaborating with other consortia to be able to take the best of what they have and share where we’ve got to by a process of open innovation,” he added.

As devices become smarter and new entrants to the IoT market emerge, both of these consortiums share a common goal: To ensure that these players can securely speak a common language.

“We all want the same thing, which is the IoT. And whilst we have ARM in our consortium and they have Intel in their consortium, we recognize that ARM and Intel need to work together and they recommend we need to work together too.”

Report: 40.9 billion wireless connected devices expected by 2020

According to an updated market forecast from ABI Research, the installed base of active wireless connected devices will exceed 16 billion in 2014, an increase of nearly 20% from 2013. The number of devices will more than double from the current level, with 40.9 billion projected for 2020.

“The driving force behind the surge in connections is that usual buzzword suspect, the Internet of Things (IoT). If we look at this year’s installed base, smartphones, PCs and other ‘hub’ devices represent still 44% of the active total, but by end-2020 their share is set to drop to 32%. In other words, 75% of the growth between today and the end of the decade will come from non-hub devices: sensor nodes and accessories,” revealed Aapo Markkanen, Principal Analyst.

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From a tech supplier’s strategic point of view, the critical question that lies ahead is how the plethora IoT devices will ultimately be connected. Until recently, the choices that product OEMs have faced have been fairly straightforward — with cellular, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and others all generally addressing their relative comfort zones. Going forward, they will be in an increasing competition with each other, so for the suppliers the strategic stakes are getting much higher.

“The recently introduced Thread protocol, spearheaded by Nest Labs, is not only setting the bar higher for ZigBee in the 802.15.4 space, but also piling up pressure on Bluetooth suppliers to enable mesh networking. In the meantime, the LTE-MTC and LTE-M initiatives may well expand the market for cellular M2M, while startups like Electric Imp and Spark could do the same for Wi-Fi. And finally, we also shouldn’t ignore what’s going on with passive, proximity-based connectivity offered by RFID and NFC,” added ABI Research Practice Director Dan Shey.

Another prime example of this convergence is the newly-unveiled Open Interconnect Consortium (OIC), formed by tech leaders AtmelBroadcomDellIntelSamsung and Wind River. The aim of this new project is to establish a common communication framework based on industry standard technologies to wirelessly connect and intelligently manage the flow of information among devices, regardless of form factor, operating system or service provider. The OIC also intends to deliver open source implementations for a variety of IoT market opportunities and vertical segments from smart home solutions to automotive and more, utilizing both existing and emerging standards like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi Direct, Zigbee, Zwave and Ant+.

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The new Atmel | SMART product line includes the SmartConnect wireless IC family, which combines ultra-low power Atmel MCUs with wireless solutions and complementary software. The SmartConnect wireless portfolio is a family of self-contained, low-power, and certified modules bringing wireless Internet connectivity to any embedded design, without compromising on cost and power consumption. Adding to the already broad family are recently-acquired NMI’s 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth certified products. These innovative, highly-integrated solutions will accelerate seamless communication and connectivity for the IoT.

“Combined with our existing Wi-Fi and Zigbee solutions and industry leading microcontroller portfolio, Atmel is positioned for substantial growth in the Internet of Things marketplace,” explained Atmel CEO Steve Laub.

 

A look at the chip side of the OIC

Maybe it’s my competitive analysis gene, or too many years spent hanging out with consortium types, but I’m always both curious and skeptical when a new consortium arises – especially in a crowded field of interest. The dynamics of who aligns with a new initiative, and how they plan to go to market compared to other entities, prompts deeper exploration.

We’ve had a spate of IoT consortia showing up in 2014, and it seems there is a new one popping up every day. These days, the operative word is open – open source is a requirement to get anywhere with developers and makers. Outside of the Industrial Internet Consortium which is dealing with a much gorier systems-of-systems problem in a more traditional embedded scenario, most of these new initiatives are targeting consumer connectivity.

Ecosystem polarization is also a theme. After all, technology has been driven by specification “wars” forever, where participants align with a side and play a game that often takes years or even decades before a decisive score. To get into the game, one has to be chosen for particular skills, and commit to a group with an idea.

Not surprisingly, the “captains” of these IoT consortia are coming from the smartphone experience. Qualcomm moved first by opening up AllJoyn into the AllSeen Alliance, with a roster recently topping 50 companies including the addition of Microsoft. Apple then served up HomeKit, Google responded with a Nest API, and BlackBerry is lurking with Project Ion.

What’s missing here? AllSeen has a couple of semiconductor companies, notably Imagination Tech and Silicon Image to go along with Qualcomm. For the most part, these initiatives are primarily software-oriented, with middleware, carriers, and device OEMs leading the way. I’ve been quoted as saying “software is the solution”, but the overall absence of microcontroller and SoC vendors in all this is a bit alarming.

People like to say the semi vendors want to be able to sell chips into any application – they’re agnostic. Hogwash, when it comes to this phase of the IoT. That’s like saying we’ll just wait around until we’re the last kid on the playground to be picked. If you’ve been reading me and others lately, it is clear we don’t have the right chips yet for many IoT applications, particularly wearables and always-on scenarios. The software won’t be right until the IoT silicon is right.

Chipmakers can’t afford to wait on the sidelines, hoping their standard fare gets picked up and fits in with one of these teams. They also can’t take the proprietary route, such as TI trying to draw cloud providers onto only their solutions – especially without IPv6 support for their Wi-Fi solutions yet. What we need is a much more collaborative discussion with a variety of viewpoints, including multiple semiconductor vendors working on a common cause.

The debut of the Open Interconnect Consortium may signal a change is coming. At a first glance, the co-captains are Intel and Samsung – a statement that affirms Tizen is headed straight for the IoT and a home and a wrist near you. (Yeah, yeah, the right words on Android and iOS and Windows and even RTOS platforms are there, but read the charter that says “must provide an open source implementation” again.) Exactly how the OIC proceeds is a bit nebulous; the specifications are yet to be defined, with only sweeping statements on creating an open, certified, and branded environment so far.

One thing is for sure: semiconductors are well represented. Right at the top of the OIC roster are two names that should get attention: Atmel, and Broadcom. Not coincidentally, these are two of the bigger names behind the maker movement, representing the Arduino and Raspberry Pi communities.

If one was to pick a chip vendor for an IoT team, Atmel seems the logical choice right now. They have a wealth of 6LoWPAN, Bluetooth, and ZigBee experience – and are adding depth with the July 2014 acquisition of Newport Media. They also have exposure with two of the more prominent open IoT operating systems, Contiki and RIOT. Atmel has a birds-eye view at what makers and startups are actually doing on the IoT. Their voice could prove very important in aligning chip design, software design, and use cases as the OIC develops specifications.

Broadcom is compelling for other reasons beyond their SoC presence. As a major Wi-Fi chipset vendor, they line up well as a counter to Qualcomm on the other side. Historically, Broadcom has been notoriously obstinate in refusing to provide open source drivers for solutions, even labeled “open source hostile” in some forums. Broadcom’s stance may finally be changing, perhaps in response to the AllJoyn momentum and a realization that makers are our new best friends on the IoT.

And, this isn’t the Haswell-fueled side of Intel talking, but their maker efforts in Edison and Galileo powered by Atom and Quark, and an acquisition of Basis. Wind River is also listed as a lead member, and as the embedded software operation of Intel, they have accumulated vast experience with Android, Linux, and Tizen that could serve this effort nicely.

Where AllSeen has a significant head start, the OIC is just entering the game. I’d watch what they do next, as they add members and release specifications. A lot will likely hinge on how well Tizen is accepted for IoT applications, who else lines up with support, and how interoperability with the other environments – open or proprietary – is established.

This post has been republished with permission from SemiWiki.com, where Don Dingee is a featured blogger. It first appeared there on July 9, 2014.

BI Intelligence details IoT enterprise apps

Writing for Business Insider, Emily Adler notes that the Internet of Things (IoT) — a world comprised of ordinary objects connected to the web and accessible from mobile devices — will soon emerge as a huge market, “dwarfing all other consumer electronics categories.”

Just how large are we talking? BI Intelligence reveals that 1.9 billion once-inert everyday and enterprise devices are already connected to the Internet — from parking meters to home thermostats — while that number is expected to rise to 9 billion come 2018. “That’s roughly equal to the number of smartphones, smart TVs, tablets, wearable computers, and PCs combined,” Adler emphasized.  

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“There are already clear signs that the biggest tech companies — and even smaller players — are trying to get out front of the race to dominate the IoT. Google has acquired Nest. Apple has unveiled its HomeKit platform. Even Staples and Honeywell — not typically companies thought of as tech leaders — are putting out new IoT-related products.”

It doesn’t stop there either, thanks in part to the budding Maker Movement. According to Gartner’s Jim Tully, by 2018, 50% of the Internet of Things solutions will be provided by startups which are less than 3 years old — this a clear result of DIY culture continuing to spur innovation throughout both the B2B and consumer space.

As we’ve previously discussed on Bits & Pieces, BI Intelligence recently listed the 6 primary attributes that’ll help make “things” a part of the rapidly evolving IoT set to connect over 30 billion devices over the next six years.

As uptake among consumers and businesses ticks up, BI Intelligence has unveiled in one of its latest reports that the IoT market “will drive trillions in economic value as it permeates consumer and business life. Soon, it will be perfectly normal to have a refrigerator that talks to you and a garage door you open with your smartphone.”

According to Reza Kazerounian, Senior VP and GM of the Microcontroller Business Unit at Atmel, the IoT is a combination of multiple market segments, tens of thousands of OEMs and hundreds of thousands of products. “It is seen by many as the next wave of dramatic market growth for semiconductors. If you look at the different estimates made by market analysts, the IoT market will be worth trillions of dollars to a variety of industries from the consumer to financial, industrial, white goods and other market segments,” he told EEWeb in February.

Adler notes just some of the most important enterprise applications that are already being developed today:

  • Connected advertising and marketing: Cisco believes that this category (think Internet-connected billboards) will be one of the top three IoT categories, along with smart factories and telecommuting support systems.
  • Intelligent traffic management systems: Machina Research, in a paper prepared for the GSMA, sees $100 billion in revenue by 2020 for applications such as toll-taking and congestion penalties. A related revenue source will be smart parking-space management, expected to drive $30 billion in revenue.
  • Waste management systems: In Cincinnati, residential waste volume fell 17% and recycling volume grew by 49% through use of a “pay as you throw” program that used IoT technology to monitor those who exceed waste limits.
  • Smart electricity grids that adjust rates for peak energy usage:These will represent savings of $200 billion to $500 billion per year by 2025, according to the McKinsey Global Institute.
  • Smart water systems and meters: The cities of Doha, São Paulo, and Beijing have reduced leaks by 40 to 50% by putting sensors on pumps and other water infrastructure.
  • Industrial uses: This includes Internet-managed assembly lines, connected factories, and warehouses, etc.

Earlier this month, Atmel teamed up with fellow industry leaders Broadcom, Dell, Intel, Samsung and Wind River to drive seamless device-to-device connectivity. The Open Interconnect Consortium (OIC) aims to define IoT requirements to ensure the interoperability of these billions upon billions of devices projected to come online by 2020.

“Atmel is excited about our participation in OIC to establish an open source framework that goes beyond the digital home and supports services for multiple verticals including consumer, industrial and automotive markets,” explained Kaivan Karimi, Vice President and General Manager of Wireless MCUs at Atmel.

In order to help deliver the platform for a growing demand of intelligent, connected devices, Atmel recently announced the launch of Atmel® | SMART™, the new brand of ARM®-based microcontrollers and has expanded its SMART portfolio with new SmartConnect SAM W23 modules, enabling Wi-Fi connectivity and the best of high performance and low power technology for IoT applications.

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Interested in learning more about the IoT? You can access the entire BI Intelligence report here or read through our extensive Bits & Pieces IoT article archive.