The Linux Foundation has formed a group of tech titans and is billing it as the broadest cross-industry consortium to-date to advance adoption and innovation in the "Internet of Everything" in homes and industry. It's called the AllSeen Alliance and the Internet of Everything is at its heart.
The Internet of Everything is based on the idea that devices, objects and systems can be connected in simple, transparent ways to enable seamless sharing of information and coordinated and intelligent operations across all of them. As no single company can accomplish the level of interoperability required to support the Internet of Everything and address everyday, real-life scenarios, a united, pan-industry effort is needed to deliver new experiences to consumers and businesses.
The AllSeen Alliance looks to expand upon the "Internet of Things," which Gartner predicts will add $1.9 trillion to the global economy by 2020, to include more functionality and interactions across various brands and sectors, such as the connected home, healthcare, education, automotive and enterprise.
Who's Behind It?
"Open-source software and collaborative development have been proven to accelerate technology innovation in markets where major transformation is under way," said Jim Zemlin, executive director at the Linux Foundation. "Nowhere is this more evident today than in the consumer, industrial and embedded industries where connected devices, systems and services are generating a new level of intelligence in the way we and our systems interact."
Founding members of the AllSeen Alliance include Haier, LG Electronics, Panasonic, Qualcomm, Sharp, Silicon Image and TP-LINK. Community members include Canary, Cisco, D-Link, doubleTwist, Fon, Harman, HTC, Letv, LIFX, Lite-on, Moxtreme, Musaic, Sears Brand Management Corporation, Sproutling, The Sprosty Network, Weaved and Wilocity.
Alliance members will contribute software and engineering resources as part of their collaboration on an open software framework that enables hardware manufacturers, service providers and software developers to create interoperable devices and services. This open-source framework promises to allow ad hoc systems to discover, connect and interact with nearby products regardless of brand, transport layer, platform or operating system.
Big Step Forward
As an example of the greater intelligence and interoperability made possible with the framework as the common language among the devices and services, a family that installs a smart lock built with the framework for their front door will seamlessly be able to connect it to smart lights that also use the framework and security cameras from other manufacturers.
Unauthorized entries can trigger the lights to flash and the camera to take a photo of the intruder and send a notification and picture to the smart TV. At the other end of the spectrum, factory floors -- evolving environments with systems that need to adjust dynamically -- can benefit from the framework's ability to enable a self-aware network that can constantly learn what new equipment has been added and what capabilities or interfaces that equipment has so that it can immediately begin playing its part on the manufacturing process.
We caught up with Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst at ZK Research, to get his take on the AllSeen Alliance. He told us this is a step in the right direction.
"The whole concept of Internet of Things is based on the fact that multiple vendors work together to connect what was once unconnected. I don't believe this is something a single vendor can deliver on its own," he said. "Maybe one or two vendors can drive it but certainly they need help from a broader set of companies in order to thrive."
He noted that the World Wide Web itself would not be possible if only one or two companies were behind it. It was the fact that companies like Microsoft had an operating system, Intel had processors, Netscape had a browser, Cisco had the network -- and so on -- to add pieces to complete the puzzle.
"I think you'll see something similar here with the Internet of Things where it ends up being a consortium of a number of vendors that drive it forward," Kerravala said. "This alliance appears to be the first big move toward that."