The Mushrooming IoT Alliances!
March 24, 2016
Many industry associations emerged on the scene within the last 8 – 18 months reflecting both the heightened interest in the general IoT space and the need for interoperability in a fragmented market. These alliances can be categorized broadly into two groups: industry collaboration alliances and technology alliances focused on ensuring interoperability among devices. For the home automation space, alliances and organizations have recently formed with the direct purpose of enabling interoperability of connected home devices. We review these below in addition to listing adjacent alliances that have influence on this market.
|Interoperability alliances – application layer||
|Interoperability alliances – Layers 1/2/3||
|Adjacent alliances related to connected home applications||
AllSeen Alliance. Formed in December 2013 to provide a universal software framework that allows devices to autonomously discover and interact with nearby products regardless of their underlying proprietary technology or communications protocols (e.g. Wi-Fi, power line or Ethernet). It enables functions such as discovery, connectivity, security and management of ad-hoc proximal networks among nearby devices. The software framework is based on Linux AllJoyn open source code developed by Qualcomm and runs on popular platforms such as Linux and Linux-based Android, iOS, and Windows, including embedded variants. Members of the AllSeen Alliance include Qualcomm, Microsoft, Sony, Haier, LG, Panasonic, Sharp, Cisco, and Honeywell among other vendors.
Open Interconnect Consortium (OIC). Formed in July 2014 to establish 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. In addition to defining an interoperability standard, OIC provides certification and branding. The standard is implemented in open source and available for all application developers and device manufacturers to deliver interoperable products across Android, iOS, Windows, Linux, Tizen and other operating systems (initial code release is known as IoTivity). Members of the OIC include Intel, Samsung, Cisco, GE, Mediatek, Honeywell, Broadcom, Dell, Siemens and Atmel.
Z-Wave Alliance. Z-Wave is a wireless communications technology developed and controlled by Sigma Designs primarily for home automation processes including control and monitoring for residential and light commercial environments (home safety and security, healthcare and independent aging, hospitality and real estate management and energy conservation). The alliance ensures interoperability of wireless products and services based on Z-Wave technology which is proprietary but quite widely used. In addition to Sigma Designs, members include in a SmartThings, GE/Jasco, LG U+, and ADT.
Thread Group. This organization was formed in July 2014 to enable interoperability of home devices based on IEEE 802.15.4 (ZigBee) technology. While ZigBee technology is standardized (Layer 1 and 2), different implementations render solutions from different companies non-interoperable. Thread addresses this gap by supporting IPv6 using 6LoWPAN (adaptation of IPv6 for low-power low-bandwidth devices). Application layer protocols such as Apple HomeKit, Nest’s Developer program and Qualcomm’s AllJoyn can work on top of Thread. ZigBee devices can be software-upgraded to Thread. The Google Nest thermostat implements Thread. Members include Samsung, Google/Nest, Freescale, ARM, Tyco, and Silicon Labs.
IoT Consortium (IOTC). Formed in January 2013 to provide a forum for companies employing technologies like Bluetooth Low Energy and Low Power Wi-Fi. This forum is focused on consumer research and market education and hence they developed interesting insights into consumer behavior related to the wider IoT space. Members include SmartThings, Basis, SigFox, Active Mind, Coin, Kease, Logitech, MOVL, Ouya, Poly-Control, and Ube.
 Full list is available at http://z-wavealliance.org/z-wave_alliance_member_companies/