IoT consumer groups blend app frameworks

Article By : Rick Merritt

The merge paves the way to a common open-source framework to provide the most viable alternative to smart home environments from Apple and Google.

Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF) and the AllSeen Alliance, two groups with competing application frameworks for the consumer Internet of Things, have agreed to merge their approaches.

The two groups will unite under the OCF name and bylaws.

The news paves the way to a common open-source framework that should provide the most viable alternative to smart home environments from Apple and Google. The two groups were operating as separate open-source projects managed by the Linux Foundation. Both have established, separate reference designs—Iotivity for OCF and AllJoyn for AllSeen.

Although the combined group did not set specific dates for its work, it did sketch out its plans.

As a first step, it “will describe bridged, bidirectional support between the AllJoyn 16.04 and Iotivity 1.1 implementations,” something AllJoyn largely demonstrated with its Device System Bridge, a representative said in an email exchange. In addition, it will “integrate features such as introspection and advanced security management along with native remote access interfaces into a combined Iotivity roadmap.”

The united OCF group will maintain both reference designs and merge the best elements of both into one under the name Iotivity. The group pledged current Iotivity and AllJoyn devices will run on the new framework.

The merger is the biggest step to date among a fragmented set of IoT application environments that have moved to greater collaboration and consolidation over the past year. It comes at a time of fierce competition between Apple with its HomeKit application framework and Google with its emerging Weave protocol.

With the merger the OCF expanded its board of directors to include executives from AB Electrolux, CableLabs, Canon, Inc., Cisco Systems, Inc., GE Digital, Haier, Intel, LG Electronics, Inc., Microsoft, Qualcomm, Samsung Electronics and Technicolor SA.

Qualcomm led the formation of what became the AllSeen Alliance. The group’s technology is currently used in millions of AllJoyn-certified devices. Intel led the formation of OCF which announced its first specifications late last year.

At that time OCF said its approach uses RESTful APIs in contrast to the AllSeen approach that uses remote procedure calls. As recently as the Consumer Electronics Show in January, the two groups seem set on competitive paths.

However, a representative said over email that the groups have been exploring a path to interoperability since early this year.

“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,” said Danny Lousberg, chairperson of the AllSeen Alliance, speaking in a press statement.

“As we forge onwards towards this shared goal, we are focused on building the most robust, open IoT software solution to achieve our vision–complete interoperability within the IoT,” said Mike Richmond, executive director, Open Connectivity Foundation.

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