Electrolux, with its broad range of home and professional appliances that it and the various companies it owns makes, stands to be a key player in the nascent Internet of things, where everything from refrigerators and thermostats to light bulbs, cooling systems and stoves will eventually be connected to the Internet and each other.
Now the giant international company, which had sales of more than $15.6 billion last year, has 61,000 employees and owns such brands as Frigidaire, Westinghouse and Eureka, is part of the AllSeen Alliance, a consortium that is developing an open framework for the Internet of things (IoT) based on the AllJoyn open-source code.
Electrolux grows the group's membership to 63 since it was launched in December 2013. AllSeen has a broad range of members, from tech vendors like Microsoft, LG Electronics, Qualcomm, Cisco Systems and Symantec to appliance and system makers like Haier, Bosch and Harman.
"We've said from the beginning that only a pan-industry effort using open source and collaboration can advance the technology required to build a truly connected world," AllSeen Chairman Liat Ben-Zur said in a statement. "The decision by Electrolux to join with the other signature companies is an important step forward for the AllSeen Alliance."
AllSeen, a project under the auspices of the Linux Foundation, is looking to leverage the AllJoyn code, originally developed by Qualcomm engineers, to create a platform for enabling the tens of billions of intelligent devices that will be connected to the Internet to communicate with each other.
AllSeen is among a number of open-source groups looking to create open standards for the IoT. Others include the Open Interconnect Consortium, which Intel, Dell, Samsung, Broadcom and others launched July 8, and the Thread Group, which was announced July 15 by, among others, Samsung, ARM, Freescale and Google's Nest business. The Thread Group is pushing a wireless networking protocol for the home called Thread.
The Internet of things is expected to grow rapidly. Cisco officials expect the number of connected devices worldwide to hit 50 billion by 2020, and IDC analysts are forecasting that revenues connected to the IoT market will reach $7.1 trillion by that year. Cisco CEO John Chambers has said that the financial impact on businesses globally could be as much as $19 trillion by the end of the decade.