UPDATED 15:06 EST / JANUARY 05 2015

Round-up: Open source technologies are key to the growth of Internet of Things

robot robotic hand gold AI artificial intelligence connected internet of things wiredToday, there are numerous products that allow the exchange of information on the Internet, but there is little real interoperability. Companies that make fact-based device platforms and proprietary applications may be stifling the creation of a complete ecosystem.

The Linux Foundation believes that the objective of a full ecosystem within the Internet of Things can only be achieved by developing an open source framework.

Last December, The Linux Foundation announced the formation of AllSeen Alliance, a consortium created to encourage the adoption of common standards to be used in the development of devices and services for Internet of Things (IoT).

To best forward this mission the AllSeen Alliance includes manufacturers of devices (smartphones, tablets, routers, smart TVs, appliances, set-top boxes, etc.), Service providers, retailers and chipmakers. The main members are Haier, LG Electronics, Panasonic, Qualcomm, Sharp, Silicon Image and TP-LINK. The members are secondary Canary, Cisco, D-Link, doubleTwist, Fon, Harman, HTC, LeTV, LIFX, Lite-on, Moxtreme, Musaic, Sears Brands Management Corporation, Sproutling, The Sprosty Network, Weaved and Wilocity. AT&T Digital Life, Affinegy, Gowex, iControl Networks, Kii, Muzzley, Patavina Technologies, 2lementry, Tuxera and Vestel Group, since then joined the initiative.

Open source initiatives

The software framework will enable any device to locate other devices, automatically make a connection and start sharing data, regardless of the brand, from the standard of communication and operating system.

In the house of the future, the LG refrigerator will send an SMS to a HTC smartphone, Haier dishwasher can talk with the Sharp TV. The initial release of AllSeen Alliance will be based on the Qualcomm AllJoyn framework that allows devices, services and applications to communicate via a WiFi connection, Ethernet, Powerline or other standards. The framework is compatible with major platforms, including Linux, Windows, OS X, Android and iOS. LG has already announced that support for AllJoyn will be integrated into the smart TV sales in 2014. AllJoyn is written in C++, and provides multiple language bindings and complete implementations across various operating systems and chipsets.

For example, AllJoyn already includes SDKs for Android, iOS, Mac OS X, and Windows RT.

“Open source software and collaborative development have been proven to accelerate technology innovation in markets where major transformation is underway,” 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. The AllSeen Alliance represents an unprecedented opportunity to advance the Internet of Everything for both home and industry.”


Another somewhat related open source initiative is the recent creation of OpenDaylight, which is an open platform for network programmability to enable software-defined networking (SDN) and create a solid foundation for network functions virtualization (NFV) for networks at any size and scale. These network capabilities could become critical in an IoT architecture. For those needing more powerful processing, the BeagleBone Black, the Raspberry Pi, and the embed development systems are all open-source hardware devices that can serve as the basis of an IoT device.

The IOT Toolkit for RaspberryPi includes a smart object API as well as a gateway-as-a-service program. Binary images for the RaspberryPi running Ubuntu are available for instant access to the tools.

A universal open standard

Open source software and collaboration are well-known for fostering innovation. The AllSeen Alliance’s collaboration will address the immediate needs of the market while creating the necessary foundation for new opportunities. It is poised to open possibilities for interactions across devices, objects and systems and larger market opportunities for developers and manufacturers.

The framework consists of a code base of modular services that initially will enable fundamental activities such as discovery of adjacent devices, device pairing, message routing, security, user notifications, a common control panel and audio streaming. The broad adoption of a common software and services framework that will foster a dynamic ecosystem.

It is an Open Source framework that enables ad hoc systems to discover, connect and interact dynamically transparently with other nearby products regardless of brand, transport layer, platform or operating system. AllSeen is based on a Linux solution and the framework is compatible with Android, iOS, Windows, Linux, Arduino and almost everywhere. For simplicity, AllSeen is UPnP connected objects. All AllSeen object is able to be seen on the local area network automatically by AllSeen other objects.

The IoTCloud project aims to support the discovery, management, and interoperability of many types (varieties) of smart objects deployed in large quantities. Source code for the project is available on the Github. This means that AllSeen control application on a mobile or tablet will automatically connect objects and can control the functions provided by them – controlling the temperature of a thermostat, change the channel of a TV, turn on the a light bulb connected, etc. The availability of open-source materials for every link in the chain linking devices through the network to apps means that this innovation has everything it needs to realize that promise.

photo credit: Dancing Lemur via photopin cc

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