Anyone interested in the Internet of Things has already heard one message repeatedly at this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas: interoperability is key. That's why the AllSeen Alliance selected CES to announce the release of its AllJoyn Gateway Agent.
"There are millions of connected devices on the market and that number is growing exponentially," said Art Lancaster, CTO of the IoT software company Affinegy and chair of the AllSeen Alliance Gateway Working Group. "The AllSeen Alliance believes that consumers should have control over these devices and their data -- with the assurance that these connections are both private and secure. The AllJoyn Gateway Agent is the industry's first standard way to connect IoT devices and applications with such confidence."
The AllJoyn Gateway Agent enables four things that are critical for the fast-developing Internet of Things: remote access and management; security and data privacy; interoperability; and use of open standards, according to the AllSeen Alliance. It's an open-source software framework that's designed to connect devices "regardless of brand, transport, platform or operating system."
More than 900 IoT Exhibitors
The Internet of Things is getting a lot of attention at CES, which runs through Friday. According to a spokesperson for the Consumer Electronics Association, which organizes the show, more than 900 exhibitors at this year's event fall into the IoT category.
One big obstacle to enabling the full potential of the Internet of Things is "the absence of a unified community and universal framework that prioritizes intelligent interoperability," according to the AllSeen Alliance, a cross-industry consortium of IoT-minded that was established in December 2013.
Led by the nonprofit Linux Foundation, the AllSeen Alliance has since grown to 112 members, including Bosch, Cisco, LG, Lenovo, Microsoft, Panasonic, Sharp, Sony, Symantec and Verisign. The initial framework for the alliance's AllJoyn open-source effort was developed by a subsidiary of Qualcomm, which is also a founding member of the organization.
Dueling Interoperability Groups
The AllSeen Alliance isn't the only organization working on open-source standards and interoperability for the Internet of Things. The Open Interconnect Consortium (OIC) launched in July with the same mission.
The founding members of the OIC include Amtel, Dell, Intel, Samsung and Wind River. However, its member organizations include a few companies that also belong to the AllSeen Alliance, including ADT, Cisco and Exo U.
Since its launch, the AllSeen Alliance has certified a number of products that have been designed with IoT interoperability in mind. Among these are LG televisions and Panasonic's ALL series of wireless speakers.
Developed to support end-to-end encryption and secure connection to the cloud, the alliance's AllJoyn Gateway Agent can be installed on either Linux-based or OpenWRT-based devices. It supports persistent remote connections without a special firewall or port settings.
The need for interoperability in IoT development was echoed Monday by Samsung Electronics President and CEO Boo-Keun Yoon, who said in his pre-show keynote address that his company planned to invest more than $100 million this year to advance development of the Internet of Things.
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