Intel has announced the launch of a consortium of companies that are looking to cooperate on Internet of Things (IoT) communication standards, in competition with those proposed by its rival Qualcomm.
Intel has been investing heavily in IoT infrastructure projects of late, but the company's latest deal is its biggest yet. The semiconductor giant has partnered with microprocessor specialist Atmel, communications behemoth Broadcom, box-shifter Dell, RAM and consumer electronics outfit Samsung and its own Wind River software subsidiary to form the Open Interconnect Consortium (OIC). The OIC, its member companies explain, is focused on defining a common communications framework for IoT devices.
'The rise and ultimate success of the Internet of Things depends on the ability for devices and systems to securely and reliably interconnect and share information, claimed Intel's Doug Fisher at the launch announcement. 'This requires common frameworks, based on truly open, industry standards. Our goal in founding this new consortium is to solve the challenge of interoperable connectivity for the Internet of Things without tying the ecosystem to one company's solution.'
As the name suggests, the OIC will be releasing its standards as well as reference implementations under permissive licences - something Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation, has praised. 'Open source is about collaboration and about choice. The Open Interconnect Consortium is yet another proof point how open source helps to fuel innovation,' he claimed of the group's methodologies. 'We look forward to the OIC's contribution in fostering an open environment to support the billions of connected devices coming online.'
Currently, Intel is but a bit player in the embedded market that forms the heart of the Internet of Things. Its x86-based processors are typically too bulky and power-hungry for embedded use, with companies opting instead to use ARM-based processors or small microcontrollers. In the last year, Intel has tried to turn that around with the launch of the Pentium-based Quark and the Galileo hobbyist embedded development platform. In the OIC, however, it is bringing out the big guns and doing so in direct competition with Qualcomm and its own AllSeen Alliance - the most recent member of which is, interestingly, long-term Intel partner Microsoft - which pushes its own AllJoyn IoT communications standard.