IoT Standards Mashup: Open Interconnect Gobbles Up UPnP Forum

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In-brief: The Open Interconnect Consortium said that it was acquiring the assets of the Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) Forum, giving OIC’s Internet of Things technologies a potential platform of thousands of UPnP compliant devices. 

The crowded and complex landscape of would be interoperability standards for the Internet of Things got a little bit less crowded this week, with the announcement that the Open Interconnect Consortium will acquire the assets of the UPnP Forum – a group that promoted development of the Universal Plug and Play protocols.

Open Interconnect Consortium (OIC) said that would acquire “substantially all of the assets of the UPnP Forum and offer membership to UPnP Forum members.”The deal will add momentum to OIC, which has the backing of The Linux Foundation and counts Intel, Cisco, Samsung, Mediatek and GE Software as members.  The group promotes open source implementation to improve interoperability between Internet of Things endpoints. The transaction is expected to close by the end of 2015.

In a published statement, the OIC said the agreement will streamline and consolidate efforts to standardize technologies and infrastructure, leading to increased alignment on the IoT deployments.

UPnP Forum is a 16-year-old industry group created to promote standards that allow devices to connect seamlessly and to simplify network implementation in the home and corporate environments. The group developed universal plug and play protocols, services, use scenarios and device controls in areas like home automation, networking, remote access, printing and scanning, audio/video and so on. Among those are standards for IoT management and control.

With more than 1,000 members in UPnP Forum, there is considerable overlap between OIC and UPnP Forum. Notably: Cisco and Intel are Steering Committee Members on UPnP Forum, in addition to being Diamond Level sponsors of OIC.

“UPnP Forum pioneered the networking software protocols fundamental to today’s Smart Home,” said Mike Richmond, executive director, Open Interconnect Consortium in a statement. “The Open Interconnect Consortium is looking forward to working with our many new members to streamline specification development for the next generation of IoT-connected devices.”

In January, OIC introduced IoTivity, an open source framework for device-to-device connections over IoT. In September, the group announced the public availability of OIC Candidate Specification 1.0, the group’s Internet of Things (IoT) specification, comprising a core framework, smart home device, resource type, security and remote access capabilities. OIC promotes its standard as a “cloud-native” architecture that will enable smoother integration between local and cloud use cases that are common on the nascent Internet of Things.

The framework is part of a full court press by the Linux Foundation and OIC members to develop comprehensive standards for the Internet of Things that will allow products from different vendors to interoperate: sharing information and providing a common management framework.

The merger will give OIC a play to the huge population of in-home and office devices that use UPnP technologies. “UPnP devices play a unique role in the Smart Home that will dramatically enhance OIC’s effort,”said Scott Lofgren, president of UPnP Forum.

The OIC’s biggest competition comes from The AllSeen Alliance, a group that counts software and device makers like Microsoft, Panasonic, LG, Sony, Phillips and Qualcomm as members. That group’s AllJoyn standard is an open source software framework through which devices and apps can discover and communicate with each other. AllJoyn software runs on Linux and Linux-based Android, iOS, and Windows, including many other lightweight real-time operating systems.

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