Billions of connected devices in the growing Internet-of-Things market, such as embedded devices and sensors, computers and mobile devices should be able to communicate with each other and interoperate via open standards – regardless of their manufacturer, operating system, chipset or networking protocols.
The Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF) is an industry collaboration which aims to spearhead an IoT open standards effort to work towards these goals – creating standards and open-source tools to help an interoperable Internet-of-Things realise its full potential.
Founding members including Microsoft, Cisco, Electrolux, Intel, Qualcomm, Samsung, General Electric and others – who have come together to create the OCF, the world’s largest IoT open-standards organisation, which is committed to furthering industry standards for the Internet of Things.
The OCF aims to unlock vast new opportunities from interoperability in the IoT market, to accelerate innovation and to help companies and developers create IoT products and solutions that can interconnect via interoperable and open specifications, which benefits IoT consumers, commercial users and industry.
This foundation builds upon the former Open Interconnect Consortium (OIC), bringing together industry representatives from all parts of the IoT and consumer electronics industry – silicon, wireless platforms, software and consumer products – who are all dedicated to solving this key problem of interoperable standards for the IoT.
Furthermore, the OCF is defining the specifications, certification processes and branding that they will use to deliver reliable, well-documented interoperability for IoT connectivity, which is easy for product engineers as well as public consumers to understand.
These companies that have led the formation of the foundation believe in the potential that open standards can deliver for a more interoperable IoT ecosystem, as opposed to closed silos of products from individual vendors, each using their own closed standards.
The OCF will create a set of open specifications and protocols to enable devices from a variety of manufacturers to securely and seamlessly interact with one another. Regardless of the manufacturer, operating system, chipset or network – devices that adhere to the OCF specifications will simply work together.
As the open specifications defined by the foundation are designed to be easy to understand, standard logos and branding will be used in order to help consumers choose interoperable products, as well as focusing on careful standards development, documentation and open-source reference implementations that allow developers to easily implement OCF-compliant solutions.
Enterprise and industrial users, as well as consumers, stand to benefit from the open standards created by the OCF – essentially any IoT users who want their smart devices to easily interconnect and communicate.
Developers of IoT platforms, operating systems and applications stand to benefit – anyone who wants their IoT solutions to interoperate seamlessly across many brands and ecosystems, creating synergies across the IoT market and increasing the value and capability of their products.
End-users of IoT solutions also stand to benefit from interoperability, consistent security and consistent user experiences across different software, IoT appliances and other consumer-facing products.
The OCF wants to connect the next 25 billion Internet-of-Things devices with open standards, and to provide secure and reliable device discovery and connectivity across multiple OSs and platforms. Furthermore, their aims to achieve industry consolidation around a common, interoperable approach, and to build a large, experienced industry consortium of companies will hopefully create momentum for their standards-building across all kinds of IoT products and markets.
These working groups include the core technology working group, which works on the core technology issues and specifications with input from all member companies – as well as the certification working group which specifies and maintains the policies, tools and infrastructure for OCF validation and certification.
The security working group defines appropriate security frameworks for each technology and solution that the OCF specifies, and aims to provide the other working groups with guidance on the security implications of the technology choices and specifications that they’re developing. Other working groups address branding and documentation, open-source and more.
Interestingly, the OCF incorporates all the industry collaborators and activities that were formally sponsored by the Universal Plug-and-Play (UPnP) Forum, and it sponsors the IoTivity project – which provides a working, open-source reference implementation of the Open Connectivity Foundation standards and specifications, under the Apache 2.0 open source license.
The IoTivity project is an open-source software framework that aims to enable interoperable connectivity for emerging Internet-of-Things needs, to show working, open-source examples and to release open-source reference implementations of the specifications developed by the Open Connectivity Foundation.
It is hoped that the open-source implementations that comes out of IoTivity will be designed to enable application developers and device manufacturers to deliver interoperable products across a range of common operating systems such as Windows, mobile operating systems such as iOS and Android, and embedded and IoT-relevant operating systems such as Linux and Tizen.
However, with all these industry players and possible standards, the choice of hardware and software for your next Internet of Things product could quite easily be bogged down by the paradox of choice. Instead of letting your ideas fail due to analysis paralysis – we can take your idea from thoughts to a final product.
Here at the LX Group we have the systems in both hardware and software to make your IoT vision a success. We have end-to-end experience and demonstrated results in the entire process of IoT product development, and we’re ready to help bring your existing or new product ideas to life. Getting started is easy – click here to contact us, telephone 1800 810 124, or just keep in the loop by connecting here.
LX is an award-winning electronics design company based in Sydney, Australia. LX services include full turnkey design, electronics, hardware, software and firmware design. LX specialises in IoT embedded systems and wireless technologies design.
Published by LX Pty Ltd for itself and the LX Group of companies, including LX Design House, LX Solutions and LX Consulting, LX Innovations.