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Microsoft Backs New IoT Standards Consortium

Microsoft is among nine leading companies that have formed the new Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF), a consortium launched today that aims to ensure interoperability of Internet of Things devices through standards. Among other initial backers of the new group are Arris, CableLabs, Cisco, Electrolux, GE Digital, Intel, Qualcomm and Samsung.

The OCF said it brings together the work of the former Open Interconnect Consortium and the UPnP Forum and is a nonprofit organization chartered with bringing together key providers of silicon, software platforms and finished products focused on interoperability. The OCF's initial emphasis is on its sponsorship of IoTivity, an open source framework designed to deliver device-to-device connectivity.

A reference implementation of the OCF's IoTivity is available under the Apache 2.0 license. The initial IoTivity implementation includes documentation for Linux, Arduino and Tixen, but the OCF said  that the code is portable with future builds planned for additional operating systems. That will include Windows 10, according to Terry Myerson, executive vice president of Microsoft's Windows and Devices Group. "Windows 10 devices will natively interoperate with the new OCF standard, making it easy for Windows to discover, communicate and orchestrate multiple IoT devices in the home, in business and beyond," Myerson said in a blog post announcing Microsoft's participation in the group's formation. "The OCF standards will also be fully compatible with the 200 million Windows 10 devices."

Microsoft will provide APIs that will let developers integrate their software with OCF-compatible devices, he added. The OCF said that while there are various targeted efforts to address connectivity and interoperability of IoT devices, it doesn't see a single effort focused on addressing all of the requirements.

"The companies involved in OCF believe that secure and reliable device discovery and connectivity is a foundational capability to enable IoT," according to a FAQ on the group's Web site. "The companies also believe that a common, interoperable approach is essential, and that both standard and open source implementation are the best route to enable scale."

Included in the OIC 1.0 spec is a core framework published last month with security and trust protocols, a Smart Home Device reference including the OIC Smart Home Resource Specification, a resource spec that uses RAML (the RESTful API Modeling Language) for exposing the resources' APIs and uses JSON schemas as payload definitions for the resource representations. The latter address device control, notification, environmental control and energy management and saving, according to the spec. Remote access is provided via various standard protocols, including XMPP.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 02/19/2016 at 12:42 PM


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