In order to fulfill the promise of the “Internet of Things” and bring connectivity to devices of every shape, inside homes, hospitals, factories, schools and beyond, a group of technology and consumer electronics companies have formed a new alliance.
The Internet of Things is a catch-all term used to describe all the different kinds of devices that can be connected to the internet these days – be it baby monitors with networked cameras, connected thermostats or various home security systems. These kinds of gadgets are gaining traction fast, and with that comes the need for manufacturers to play along nicely, and develop unified standards that govern how their various devices talk to one another.
The idea behind the AllSeen Alliance, which consists of numerous big name companies including Cisco, LG, Sharp and Qualcomm, is to ensure that web-connected devices are all capable of communicating with each other. So long as these devices can do so, consumers won’t be restricted to buying all of their gadgets from a single manufacturer. There have been previous attempts at this kind of standardization, but nothing has ever been agreed and so companies continue to develop devices that operate differently from one another.
In total, 23 different companies have joined the AllSeen Alliance: Qualcomm, LG Electronics, Sharp, Haier, Panasonic, Silicon Image, Cisco, TP-LINK. Canary, doubleTwist, Fon, Harman, HTC, Le Shi, Lifx, Liteon, Moxtreme, Musaic, Sears Brand Management Corporation, Sproutling, The Sprosty Network, Weaved, and Wilocity. Each company has pledged to use the code underlying Qualcomm’s AllJoyn protocol to build products that will not only be able to talk to each other but offer a more automated programming environment for the devices in your life. The coalition is by far and away the largest in this niche, and should lead to the formation of unified standards at a much faster rate.
The alliance is being hosted by the Linux Foundation, which made the following statement about its goals:
“[The AllSeen Alliance seeks to] ensure that more and more electronic products can work together, regardless of brand, in the new era of smarter technology. The move is aimed at accelerating the Internet of Everything, which will transform homes and businesses with a wide range of everyday devices, objects and machines that are always connected and communicating.”