Open Source IoT Standards IoTivity and AllJoyn Merge

Two, prominent Internet of Things standards: IoTivity and AllJoyn are merging, according to an announcement on Wednesday. (Image courtesy of NASA.)
Two, prominent Internet of Things standards: IoTivity and AllJoyn are merging, according to an announcement on Wednesday. (Image courtesy of NASA.)

In-brief: Two, prominent Internet of Things standards: IoTivity and AllJoyn are merging, according to an announcement on Wednesday.

Industry standards for securing the fast-growing Internet of Things space have been popping up like daisies in the Spring in recent years. That has led to concern about paralysis as would-be think makers weigh the merits of competing standards, or opt for one IoT security standard, only to find their product isolated from other would-be ecosystem partners that opted for a different standard.

Those concerns were eased, somewhat, on Monday with word that two of the main IoT security standards groups, the Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF) and the AllSeen Alliance were merging under the OCF banner. The deal will help “advance interoperability between connected devices from both groups,” the OCF said in a statement.

Open Connectivity Foundation sponsors the IoTivity open source project. AllSeen Alliance is the creator of the AllJoyn® open source IoT framework.

Released in early 2015, IoTivity is a full-fledged open source project licensed under the Apache License version 2.0 with APIs and documentation for development in C, C++ and Java. The framework contains features that support connectivity, information exchange and control between devices, device discovery and notifications (aka “active discovery”). There are also features for resource management, sensor management and “thing” management, among others.  IoTivity supports development for a wide range of operating systems including Android, Tizen, Ubuntu (Linux), and Windows. The most recent version, 1.1.1 was released in July.

Like IoTivity, AllJoyn from the AllSeen Alliance is also an open source IoT framework. Initially developed by Qualcomm Innovation Center (QuIC), Inc, AllJoyn designed to enable companies and enterprises to create interoperable products that can discover, connect and interact directly with other AllJoyn-enabled products. The AllSeen Alliance counts companies like Microsoft and LG as members, in addition to Qualcomm and firms like Canon and Sharp. But integration of the AllSeen standards has been harder to track. As Security Ledger noted in March, 2015, Microsoft’s IoT focused announcements, like the Azure IoT Suite, make no mention of AllJoyn.

OCF was perceived as the more mature group. It has the backing of The Linux Foundation and counts Intel, Cisco, Samsung, Mediatek and GE Software as members. OCF was taking steps to consolidate interoperability under IoTivity. In November, for example, the Open Interconnect Consortium announced that it would acquire the assets of the UPnP Forum – a group that promoted development of the Universal Plug and Play protocols.

However, The AllSeen Alliance brings high visibility members – notably Microsoft – and a roster of millions of AllJoyn-enabled products that have passed the AllJoyn Certified program.

Under the terms of the merger, the newly merged groups will collaborate on future OCF specifications, as well as the IoTivity and AllJoyn open source projects. The expanded OCF board of directors will consist of executives from a wide array of leading companies from the member rosters of both groups: AB Electrolux, Arçelik A.S., ARRIS International plc, CableLabs, Canon, Inc., Cisco Systems, Inc., GE Digital, Haier, Intel, LG Electronics, Inc., Microsoft, Qualcomm, Samsung Electronics, and Technicolor SA.

OCF will now sponsor both the IoTivity and AllJoyn open source projects at The Linux Foundation and both projects will collaborate to support future versions of the OCF specification in a single IoTivity implementation that combines the best of both technologies into a unified solution. Current devices running on either AllJoyn or IoTivity solutions will be interoperable and backward-compatible. Companies already developing IoT solutions based on either technology can proceed with the confidence that their products will be compatible with the unified IoT standard that the industry has been asking for, OCF said in its statement.

“By coming together as one group, we are able to make IoT a more seamless, secure experience for everyone involved, from developers to end users,” said Danny Lousberg, Chairperson of the AllSeen Alliance in a statement. “The AllSeen Alliance and Open Connectivity Foundation have been working together closely to deliver a technologically comprehensive solution that makes sense for the industry and our members.

The merger comes as more organizations are contemplating deployment or development of technologies connected to The Internet of Things. A recently completed IDC survey of IT decision makers found that 31% of organizations surveyed have launched IoT solutions, with an additional 43% looking to deploy in the next 12 months.
More than half of respondents (55%) see IoT as strategic to their business as a means to compete more effectively.
Furthermore, security and privacy loom large for such companies.

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