OIC Releases Software Framework for IoT Standard

The group, which unveiled a preview release of IoTivity, is one of several developing open-source code to enable IoT products to interoperate.

Internet of things

The Open Interconnect Consortium, one of several industry groups developing open standards for connecting devices in the Internet of things, is launching the initial version of its software framework.

The group on Jan. 14 unveiled the preview release of IoTivity, an open spec designed to make it easier for the growing number of sensors and devices that will make up the Internet of things (IoT) to connect to each other and exchange data. IoTivity is now an open-source project under the auspices of the Linux Foundation.

"The ability for devices and machines to communicate will unleash a whole new world of technology innovation," Linux Foundation Executive Director Jim Zemlin said in a statement. "Open-source software and collaborative development are the building blocks to get us there."

The Open Interconnect Consortium (OIC) was launched in July 2014 by founding members like Intel, Dell and Samsung, and now has more than 50 members, including Hewlett-Packard, Cisco Systems, Siemens, Acer and Lenovo.

Other consortiums developing specifications for IoT interoperability include the AllSeen Alliance, Thread Group and ZigBee Alliance. AllSeen—also a Linux Foundation project—is developing the AllJoyn standard, which initially was created by engineers at Qualcomm, which is one of the founding members. The group earlier this month released the AllJoyn Gateway Agent, enabling remote control of AllJoyn-based devices.

The development of open standards will be increasingly important as the number of connected things—from smartphones and tablets to cars, home appliances, light bulbs, industrial systems and surveillance cameras—grows. Cisco officials have said there were 25 billion connected devices, systems and sensors last year, and that will grow to more than 50 billion by 2020. All those things will need to be able to communicate with each other and exchange data, and open standards will be the best way to ensure that, according to the Linux Foundation's Zemlin.

Revenues related to the Internet of things could top $7 trillion by that year, according to IDC analysts.

The IoTivity software framework will be used to implement IoT standards that the OIC is developing. Combined, the two will ensure interoperability between devices and services, regardless of what company made the product. They also will work across industries, from home IoT environments to health care to industrial, according to OIC officials.

The IoTivity project is licensed under the Apache License version 2.0. The preview release is available now, and developers can use it as a reference implementation of the OIC's standard.

"We believe that an open-source project, combined with the OIC's standards efforts, is critical to driving true interoperability for the billions of IoT devices that will be coming online over the next few years," Mark Skarpness, director of embedded software at Intel's Open Source Technology Center and chairman of the IoTivity Steering Group, said in a statement.