AT&T, Cisco, GE, IBM and Intel are the latest companies to band together with the aim of standardizing interoperability across smart machines and ultimately, drive adoption of an Internet of Things. Announced last week, the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) is a not-for-profit open membership group created to establish common frameworks for development of inter-connected digital and physical worlds.
While the notion of device-to-device communication holds great potential across a range of industries, with different manufacturers using different engineering standards, development has been slow-moving in the eyes of some.
In December last year we saw a raft of technology companies including Haier, LG Electronics, Panasonic and Qualcomm form the 23-member AllSeen Alliance, which was similarly created to fast track what it is calling “The Internet of Everything.” Members of the Alliance are contributing software and engineering resources to an open-source project named AllJoyn, hoping to give birth to a new breed of inter-operating devices and services.
The IIC is yet to outline immediate plans as concrete as this, however, it does have backing from the White House, with the US federal government set to invest US$100 million a year in research relating to cyberphysical systems.
“By linking physical objects to the full power of cyberspace, the Industrial Internet promises to dramatically reshape how people interact with technology,” said US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker. “The Administration looks forward to working with public-private collaborations like the new IIC to turn innovative Industrial Internet products and systems into new jobs in smart manufacturing, health care, transportation and other areas.”
The IIC will be managed by the Object Management Group (OMG), with its charter outlining ambitions to deliver reference architecture and standard requirements to allow connected technologies to be deployed more easily. This strategy will involve preparing industry case studies, facilitating open forums for the exchange of ideas and practices and helping shape global standards for internet and industrial systems.
“The Industrial Internet is ushering in a new era of explosive industry growth and innovation, unlike anything we’ve seen in decades,” said Dr. Richard Soley, executive director of the Industrial Internet Consortium and Chairman and CEO of the Object Management Group. “OMG has spearheaded technological developments that have – and will continue to – enable the Industrial Internet. We are applying our 25 years of experience to the IIC to set the groundwork for the technological revolution to come.”