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IoT – Open for business or hampered by lack of standards?

[Contributed Story] IoT intellectual property (IP) interoperability relies on strong standards like those from the Industrial Internet Consortium, the IEEE and others.

By Alexander Damisch, senior director, IoT solutions, Wind River

For the electronics industry in 2015 no show, conference or exhibition would be complete without the ubiquitous mention of the Internet of Things. Slated by many as purely hype, there is no doubt that the concept and reach of IoT will be felt across many industries. For example, Wind River has many customers that are testament to the fact that IoT is really happening now. For many organisations M2M was already present but it wasn’t able to provide the “smart” approach that IoT can. The fact is that IoT goes beyond controlling and monitoring industrial equipment and provides a way to transform business. IoT is all about changing business from a transactional approach to one of a recurring services oriented revenue stream.

Embracing IoT can be a major challenge for organisations. Notably, an agile and progressive business of today is not as vertically integrated as was popular is the distant past. Companies have learnt to focus on their core and work with service providers in order to achieve the rest of their value chain. For technology to work in this way standards are absolutely essential and they need to be open to all. Across all parts of a value chain, standards are certainly a big topic and it’s a case not always about reinventing things that exist today. There are already many open standards out there being used for IoT today. Take OSGI, MQTT, lightweight M2M, XMPP and, for the more embedded time sensitive application the 802.1 Ethernet standard. Almost all of these standards are already interoperable when viewed from the IP network perspective.

The major manufacturers in any market have always wanted to get ahead of the market in order to differentiate themselves. This often resulted in proprietary standards lacking any form of interoperability. However, today, business leaders in their respective fields recognize that interoperability is key in order to encourage fast market adoption. Open system standards are the only way to achieve that goal. A good example of that is the Industrial Ethernet standard and how the member organisations have worked together to define and promote the standard in order to achieve more adoption. Managing open standards means involving international standards organisations, especially where there are concerns of liability and the need for clearly defined standards. Good examples of the results of these efforts are the IEC61508 and ISO26262 standards relating to functional safety for domestic appliances and automotive applications.

Of course manufacturers could decide to continue with, or develop new proprietary IP. Taking that approach can isolate you in a market no matter what size the organisation is. Nowhere is this more relevant than in the consumer space. Thankfully, those days seem to be in the past and companies within the industrial markets are well ahead in broader market collaboration and sharing IP. Standards and architectures are open, mature and shared. IoT is all about being open; leveraging data from many different places and different devices. Markets are becoming more adept at self-regulation in order to take full benefit from the advantages that openness brings. When it comes to interoperability across the world of IoT, the Industrial Internet Consortium is very active in selecting and recommending standards. They have enough resource bandwidth to work on the common goal of achieving open standards. Likewise the Open Interconnect Consortium and let’s not forget the IEEE. They are still working on many projects that are extremely beneficial to speeding the adoption of IoT such as the 802.1 time sensitive standard.



AlexanderDamischAlexander Damisch serves as a Senior Director of IoT Solutions at Wind River and his responsibilities include the adoption of IoT in control automation, energy, process automation and transportation, and other markets. Damisch has over two decades experience in demanding software projects and has held a number of senior business and technical management positions.



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