Microsoft Joins Key Internet of Things Alliances

In a Technet blog post Kevin Dallas, the General Manager of Internet of Things (IoT) at Microsoft announced that the company is joining two different industry efforts, to seize the IoT opportunity and ensure that it delivers the right set of platforms and services.

With billions of 'connected things' coming to the Internet of Things (IoT) market in the next several years and billions of dollars at stake in opportunities, Microsoft is joining two key industry efforts to help further the conversations about standards and enabling communication and proper interactions among devices. The company announced that it has joined the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) and the AllSeen Alliance.

Comparing IoT to the early days of the web,Dallas poses the question, "imagine if the http protocol was not a standard adopted by everyone?" Dallas says that the Microsoft strategy for IoT is to make new and existing devices smarter by connecting them to services in the cloud. With Azure as that foundation in the cloud the company has developed the Azure Intelligent Systems Service for business to capture machine-generated data from line-of-business assets, and Azure Machine Learning, a cloud-based machine learning service.

Driving Interoperability with IoT Standards

The AllSeen Alliance was established just seven months ago, and looks to address the challenge of enabling smart, connected devices and objects to work together regardless of brand, operating system and other infrastructure considerations. It is one of the collaborative projects formed from the Linux Foundation. As its 51st member Microsoft has become a Premier Member of the AllSeen Allinace, joining Qualcomm Connected Experiences, Cisco, Panasonic, Sharp, and others. A key pillar for the AllSeen alliance is the AllJoyn open source project, a universal software framework and set of core services that was developed by Qualcomm and handed over to the Linux Foundation.

“We’re delighted to welcome Microsoft to the AllSeen Alliance,” said Liat Ben-Zur, Chairman of the AllSeen Alliance. “No single company can accomplish the level of interoperability required to support the Internet of Everything in everyday, real-life scenarios. Microsoft’s strong presence in the home via computers, tablets, phones, gaming platforms and their strength in the consumer, enterprise, education, industrial automotive sectors, uniquely enables them to accelerate the adoption of the AllSeen Alliance’s AllJoyn open source code across a very wide swath of products and verticals.”

The Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) is an even younger group, founded by AT&T, Cisco, GE, Intel and IBM to further development, adoption and wide-spread use of interconnected machines, intelligent analytics and people at work. Microsoft has joined the IIC in a collaboration that extends across industry, academia and government.

Although true IoT interoperability and standards appear to be the goal for many of these groups, there are a number of factions with varying objectives. Apple and Google are noticeable companies absent from either the IIC or the AllSeen Alliance, as each has been developing home automation frameworks and IoT platforms. Google announced recently that it has partnered with Mercedes-Benz and Whirlpool to allow their products to work with Google's Nest Platform.

Another group, HyperCat is a new UK-based consortium of technology companies that includes IBM, Intel and ARM. It's goal is to develop a new specification to make it easier for connected systems to automatically find and make sense of data. The group was funded with $11 million from the Technology Strategy Board, an innovation agency in the UK.

As Kevin Dallas points out, "there is a critical set of work our industry must undertake". With the IoT momentum growing, it is a fateful time for standards to develop and flourish, benefiting the entire industry.

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