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Tech Alliance Seeks Smart Device Communication Standards

Smart homeSamsung, Intel and Dell have teamed up to create standard ways for household devices such as thermostats and light bulbs to communicate with each other, according to Reuters.

The group, called the Open Interconnect Consortium, includes chipmakers Broadcom and Atmel and was announced July 7. The consortium is similar to the Qualcomm-supported AllSeen Alliance in that its goal is to establish how smart devices work together, a trend often referred to as the internet of things. The phrase is moving quickly into everyday industry speech as it represents a diverse number of efficiency possibilities.

The phrase is also coming into widespread use as manufacturers produce increasing numbers of items that can be controlled via the Internet. In fact, by 2015 more than 6 billion things will be connected to the Internet, according to Volkmar Denner of Robert Bosch.

Unfortunately, many of these things — smart home products in particular — are incompatible with each other.

Rob Chandhok of Qualcomm expressed concern that having two industry groups working in this area could result in an industry-wide platform that is divided. He compared the work to walled-off online services in the early 1990s, adding that he did not want to see a “Prodigy and CompuServe” of the internet of things.

According to Doug Fisher of Intel, the framework to be created by the Open Interconnect Consortium will address security and other issues not adequately handled by the AllSeen Alliance. He added that dual industry standards was not the group’s goal, and that the Consortium was created in response to industry need.

Despite both group’s efforts, not all technology companies are on the same page, with major tech players Google and Apple both working on their own ways of interconnecting household devices.

Google’s Nest has already partnered with companies including Whirlpool and light bulb maker LIFX to integrate their products with its thermostats and smoke detectors, and in June, Apple announced HomeKit, which will integrate control of devices such as thermostats and lights.

Photo Credit: Smart home via Shutterstock

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