The Internet of Things (Io) is becoming an all-encompassing technology, with more and more manufacturers coming up with IoT devices and appliances. However, it would seem that everybody is doing their own thing; there are no real standards that ensure that the products are of high quality and that they would work together seamlessly. Enter the AllSeen Alliance.
Announced in December 2013, the AllSeen Alliance was created to fuel the widespread adoption of systems, services, products and anything that has to do with the IoT. The goal is to make sure that the Internet of Everything will be interoperable. The Alliance also aims to be able to come up with a universal and open framework for development that its members would support and adopt.
The idea behind the Internet of Everything is for systems, devices, and objects to be connected in transparent and simple ways so that information can easily and seamlessly be shared. And for that to happen, there should be coordination and intelligence between these devices, making interoperability very important.
Interoperability is very broad and very complex. There are just too many sensors, too many devices, and too many scenarios for any one company to keep track and be mindful of. As such, the cooperation of several companies is needed to make their respective devices work with each other based on common standards. The Internet of Things is exploding, and Gartner has predicted that by 2020, it will be a $1.9-trillion industry worldwide. The Alliance hopes that it will be able to bring together different brands, as well as different sectors such as connected homes, education, healthcare, enterprise, and automotive.
To provide the glue binding the IoT together, the Alliance will be coming up with open software that is based on the AllJoyn project that was pioneered by Qualcomm. Qualcomm has since given the Linux Foundation the rights to use its Alljoyn source code.
In effect, AllJoyn is a universal, secure, programmable, and open software services and connectivity platform that would allow enterprises to make interoperable products that can find, connect and communicate with other enabled products. The program is agnostic, meaning it does not matter what operating system, platform, or brand you are using.
The AllSeen Alliance has some of the world’s biggest technology leaders under its wing. In addition to Qualcomm, the world’s top consumer brands are already on board, including LG Electronics, Sharp Corporation, Sears Brand Management Corporation, HTC Corp., Panasonic Corporation, and Haier Group.
The following are founding members as well:
- Semiconductor manufacturer Silicon Image
- Networking equipment manufacturer Technologies Co., Ltd.
- Digital media company doubleTwist Corporation
- Electronics company Harman International Industries, Incorporated
- LED bulb manufacturer LIFX Labs Inc.
- Data storage service provider Lite-On
- Semiconductor manufacturer Wilocity
Canary, Fon, Harman, and Sproutling are also member-companies.
There is a lot of promise with the AllSeen Alliance and its aim for interoperability. Soon, you may be able to watch doubleTwist content on your LG television and other AllJoyn or AllSeen certified products. Or you would be able to let your HTC smartphone “talk” and interact with your Panasonic devices.
In the long run, it is hoped that the Alliance would be able to help us do away with the varied user interfaces and protocols currently needed, and would enable users to control connected devices even without a hub or, worse, a customized app for each of your devices. The devices would have different physical attributes, brands, and even transport layers, but they would be able to recognize each other as long as they are AllJoyn or AllSeen certified. This would make home automation a breeze, even on a wide scale.
AllJoyn is a start, but there is a long way to go. Hopefully, the AllSeen Alliance would be able to come up with a standard that would help end-users get more out their devices.