• IoT alliances and consortiums compared by size. Source: Evans 2015, slide 21.
    IoT alliances and consortiums compared by size. Source: Evans 2015, slide 21.
  • Some IoT alliances and consortiums of 2013-14. Source: Jeppesen 2016.
    Some IoT alliances and consortiums of 2013-14. Source: Jeppesen 2016.
  • The ecosystem of NFC Forum. Source: NFC Forum 2020.
    The ecosystem of NFC Forum. Source: NFC Forum 2020.
  • Results of a 2018 survey of important IoT consortiums. Source: Cabé 2018, slide 44.
    Results of a 2018 survey of important IoT consortiums. Source: Cabé 2018, slide 44.
  • Internet of Things Alliances and Consortiums from 2015. Source: Postscapes 2018, figure, v1.0, March 2015.
    Internet of Things Alliances and Consortiums from 2015. Source: Postscapes 2018, figure, v1.0, March 2015.
  • IIC's publications span horizontal and vertical concerns. Source: IIC 2019, fig. 1-1.
    IIC's publications span horizontal and vertical concerns. Source: IIC 2019, fig. 1-1.

IoT Alliances and Consortiums

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Summary

IoT alliances and consortiums compared by size. Source: Evans 2015, slide 21.
IoT alliances and consortiums compared by size. Source: Evans 2015, slide 21.

Alliances and consortiums are shaping the IoT landscape to reach a level of standardization, maturity and acceptance. They allow a reach which no individual organization can achieve. They give confidence to the market that there's larger commitment to the goals of the alliance or consortium.

Alliances and consortiums also enable mass adoption of technology. Organizations like IEEE leverage their brand and mass reach to promote generic frameworks which cut across competing technologies. They also help to consolidate an otherwise fragmented marketspace. This helps businesses reach economies of scale to make the price of solutions affordable to the common man or enable the industry to deploy systems in a large scale.

While many alliances/consortiums existed in 2014, later years saw mergers and collaborations, leading to less market fragmentation.

Milestones

Dec
2013

AllSeen Alliance is formed. Premier level members include Haier, LG Electronics, Panasonic, Qualcomm, Sharp, Silicon Image and TP-LINK.

2014
Some IoT alliances and consortiums of 2013-14. Source: Jeppesen 2016.

This is the year when alliances and consortiums start appearing. The Thread Group, Open Interconnect Consortium (OIC) and Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) are all started in 2014. IEEE IoT Initiative is also launched. Thread Group opens for membership in October.

Mar
2015

Open, non-profit LoRa Alliance becomes operational. It's mission is to promote global adoption of the LoRaWAN standard. By 2018, it has 500+ members.

Nov
2015

To accelerate distributed computing, networking and storage for IoT, ARM, Cisco, Dell, Intel, Microsoft and Princeton University Edge Laboratory establish OpenFog Consortium. Focus is to build frameworks and architectures for end-to-end scenarios with capabilities pushed to network edges.

2016

In February, Open Interconnect Consortium (OIC) is renamed into Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF). In October, AllSeen Alliance merges into OCF. OCF will now sponsor both IoTivity and AllJoyn open source projects at The Linux Foundation.

Oct
2017

Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) and EdgeX Foundry merge with a mandate "to align efforts to maximize interoperability, portability, security and privacy for the industrial Internet". EdgeX Foundry, a Linux-backed, open-source project has been "building a common interoperability framework to facilitate an ecosystem for IoT edge computing".

Dec
2019

Apple, Google, Amazon and Zigbee come together to form a new working group under the Zigbee Alliance called Connected Home over IP (CHIP). It's based on IPv6 and meant to work with any PHY or MAC layer for any application or product. However, CHIP leaves out OCF from the discussions, which might create interoperability issues.

Discussion

  • What's the role of IoT alliances and consortiums?
    The ecosystem of NFC Forum. Source: NFC Forum 2020.
    The ecosystem of NFC Forum. Source: NFC Forum 2020.

    Alliances and consortiums provide for the following:

    • Help to promote standards and product certifications in a particular area (Examples: RFID Consortium, NFC Forum, Wi-Fi Alliance, Zigbee Alliance, LoRa Alliance )
    • Facilitate joint R&D efforts, influence direction of the industry, promote best practices, and provide testbeds (Example: IIC)
    • Help new entrants or startups to start quickly by providing required licenses, ecosystem or access to standards so that they can concentrate on building their differentiators

    Standards organizations can sometimes be guilty of catering only to those vendors who are on their committees. Alliances and consortiums, being non-profit, help drive requirements for standardization, and subsequent testing and certification in a vendor neutral manner. But when they also create the standards and fail to make them public, the entire industry suffers.

  • What should we look for when joining a particular IoT alliance or consortium?
    Results of a 2018 survey of important IoT consortiums. Source: Cabé 2018, slide 44.
    Results of a 2018 survey of important IoT consortiums. Source: Cabé 2018, slide 44.

    We can evaluate based on the following:

    • Openness: What are their policies on intellectual property? Are there royalties involved in implementing their standards? Is it a closed group that requires paid membership?
    • Availability: Is their work (standards, white papers, guidelines) already available or is it still a work in progress?
    • Adoption: Are people in industry already adopting and using their work?

    Back in 2014, Ian Skerrett evaluated a number of IoT alliances and consortiums based on the above metrics and published a descriptive analysis, which is a good read.

    In 2018, an online survey of 502 participants showed that Eclipse IoT, Apache Foundation, W3C, and IEEE are among the top consortiums that developers considered important in the IoT space. However, we should note that this survey was conducted by Eclipse IoT, AGILE IoT, IEEE and OMA. The survey targeted only members of their communities.

  • What are the major IoT alliances and consortiums?
    Internet of Things Alliances and Consortiums from 2015. Source: Postscapes 2018, figure, v1.0, March 2015.
    Internet of Things Alliances and Consortiums from 2015. Source: Postscapes 2018, figure, v1.0, March 2015.

    Among the many IoT alliances and consortiums, some important ones are the following:

    In one study from early 2018, the following important alliances were listed: OMA, Genivi, IIC, IoT Consortium, TrustedIoTAlliance, OneM2M, AIOTI, and OCF.

    Some alliances and consortiums are vertically focused on a particular industry. For example, Thread Group is focused on connected homes; Apple's HealthKit is about health and fitness; EnOcean Alliance is about building automation; Open Automotive Alliance is about connected cars; HART Communication Foundation looks at the industrial IoT space.

  • How does Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) contribute to IoT?
    IIC's publications span horizontal and vertical concerns. Source: IIC 2019, fig. 1-1.
    IIC's publications span horizontal and vertical concerns. Source: IIC 2019, fig. 1-1.

    The IIC was founded by AT&T, Cisco, General Electric, IBM, and Intel in March 2014. Though it's parent company is the Object Management Group, IIC itself is not a standardization body. It had around 155 members as of August 2020.

    It was formed to bring together industry players — from multinational corporations, small and large technology innovators to academia and governments — to accelerate the development, adoption and widespread use of Industrial Internet technologies. IIC members work to create an ecosystem for insight and thought leadership, interoperability and security via reference architectures, security frameworks and open standards, and real world implementations to vet technologies and drive innovations (called testbeds).

    As per Compass Intelligence, IIC won the top IoT organization influencer of the year award for 2018.

  • What role does IEEE play in IoT?

    The IEEE IoT Initiative was launched in 2014. It aims to help engineering and technology professionals learn, share knowledge and collaborate around IoT.

    IEEE has a variety of programs that can help solution providers that are trying to understand IoT, including the IEEE IoT Technical Community, which is made up of members involved in research, application and implementation of IoT. IEEE also heads the IoT Scenarios Program, which is an interactive platform to demonstrate use cases, business models and service descriptions.

    In March 2020, IEEE published an architectural framework for IoT, IEEE 2413-2019. IEEE also publishes a number of peer-reviewed IoT papers across its different publications, including IEEE Internet of Things Journal (IoT-J) that's dedicated to IoT. IEEE also organizes many conferences and events on IoT around the world, in particular the IEEE World Forum on Internet of Things (WF-IoT).

  • What are the major developments in the Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF)?

    Open Interconnect Consortium (OIC) in 2016 changed its name to Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF) when Microsoft and Qualcomm joined this group. The AllSeen Alliance was developing the AllJoyn standard, which was first created by Qualcomm. In October 2016, the AllSeen Alliance and OCF merged together to become the new OCF. The merged group continues working on the open-source IoTivity (OCF) and AllJoyn (AllSeen) projects under the auspices of the Linux Foundation, eventually merging them into a single IoTivity standard.

    Developing interoperability standards is one of the key aims of the OCF, a single IoTivity implementation that offers the best of the previous two standards. Current devices running on either AllJoyn or IoTivity are expected to be interoperable and backward-compatible with the unified IoTivity standard. There are millions of AllJoyn-enabled products on the market.

  • What's the role of Thread Group among IoT alliances?

    Thread is mesh network built on open standards and IPv6/6LoWPAN protocols to simply and securely connect products around the house. 6LoWPAN is a power-efficient personal area network protocol with underlying standards of IPv6 and IEEE 802.15.4. Thread is also capable of running for a long period of time from a long-lasting battery.

    Members of the Thread Group include ARM, Nordic, NXP, Nest, Qualcomm, Tridonic, Texas Instruments, Silicon Labs, and many more. Thread Group members get practical resources to help grow the world of connected devices by joining a global ecosystem of technology innovators. The group also offers a certification program based on Thread 1.1 specification. Thread can run multiple applications layers including Dotdot, LWM2M, OCF or Weave.

    Thread Group liaises with other IoT alliances and consortiums like Open Connectivity Foundation and Zigbee Alliance and tries to provide a one-stop shop for the home IoT.

  • What is special about Lora Alliance group?

    The LoRa Alliance is a fast growing technology alliance. It's a non-profit association of more than 500 member companies, committed to enabling large scale deployment of Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN) IoT through the development and promotion of the LoRaWAN open standard.

    Members benefit from a vibrant ecosystem of active contributors offering solutions, products & services, which create new and sustainable business opportunities.

    Through standardisation and the accredited certification scheme the LoRa Alliance delivers the interoperability needed for LPWA networks to scale, making LoRaWAN the premier solution for global LPWAN deployments. The speciality of Lora Alliance is that it operates primarily on the WAN side of the IoT space.

  • What are the other alliances and consortiums to keep a watch on?

    In 2015, some companies got together to address security aspects of IoT. They defined the Open Trust Protocol (OTrP). It's overseen by the OTrP Alliance while collaborating with IETF and Global Platform. The key insight is that system-level root of trust is necessary. Security must be addressed at all levels, from firmware to applications.

    Trusted IoT Alliance applied blockchain technology to IoT. In January 2020, this alliance merged into IIC.

    Founded in 2008, IPSO Alliance promoted the Internet Protocol for "smart object" communications, advocating for IP networked devices in health care, industrial and energy applications. In 2018, it merged with Open Mobile Alliance (OMA) to form OMA SpecWorks.

References

  1. Amadeo, Ron. 2019. "Apple, Google, and Amazon create “CHIP,” a new smart home standard." Ars Technica, Condé Nast, December 18. Updated 2019-12-19. Accessed 2020-08-24.
  2. Artin, Cynthia S. 2017. "The Industrial IoT: A Consortium and Community Come Together." IoT Evolution World, October 11. Accessed 2018-06-20.
  3. Burt, Jeff. 2016. "IoT Standards Groups OCF, AllSeen Alliance Merge." eWeek, October 10. Accessed 2018-06-20.
  4. Cabé, Benjamin. 2018. "IoT Developer Survey 2018." SlideShare, April 13. Accessed 2018-06-20.
  5. Canel, Marc. 2017. "Exploring the Open Trust Protocol." Electronic Design, June 7. Accessed 2020-08-23.
  6. Compass Intelligence. 2018. "Winners Announced for The 6th Annual Compass Intelligence Awards in IoT, Mobile, and Emerging Tech." Press release, May 16. Accessed 2018-06-20.
  7. Control Global. 2020. "Industrial Internet Consortium, Trust IoT Alliance merge memberships." Control Global, PumanMedia, January 16. Accessed 2020-08-23.
  8. Davies, Alex. 2020. "OCF bites back against new CHIP Alliance for the smart home." Rethink Research, January 16. Accessed 2020-08-24.
  9. Evans, Peter C. 2015. "Agenda 2016: Corporate Strategy and Digital Diplomacy." Center for Global Enterprise, on SlideShare, November 2015. Accessed 2020-08-23.
  10. IEEE IOT. 2020. "About the IEEE Internet of Things (IoT) Initiative." IEEE. Accessed 2020-08-23.
  11. IEEE IOT. 2020b. "Publications." IEEE. Accessed 2020-08-23.
  12. IEEE SA. 2020. "2413-2019 - IEEE Standard for an Architectural Framework for the Internet of Things (IoT)." IEEE Standards Association, IEEE, March 10. Accessed 2020-08-23.
  13. IIC. 2019. "The Industrial Internet of ThingsVolume G1: Reference Architecture." Version 1.9, IIC, June 19. Accessed 2020-08-23.
  14. IIC. 2020. "About Us." Industrial Internet Consortium, Object Management Group, Inc. Accessed 2020-08-23.
  15. IIC. 2020b. "IIC Member Directory." IIC. Accessed 2020-08-23.
  16. Jeppesen, David. 2016. "Beneath the IoT Hype: Nobody Loves the Plumbing." ProwessCorp, June 22. Accessed 2018-06-20.
  17. Lawson, Stephen. 2016. "Another IoT group? OCF may really make it all work." ComputerWorld, February 19. Accessed 2020-08-23.
  18. Lima, Joao. 2015. "IoT giants create OpenFog computing consortium." Computer Business Review, November 20. Accessed 2018-06-20.
  19. LoRa Alliance. 2020. "Homepage." LoRa Alliance. Accessed 2020-08-23.
  20. LoRa Alliance. 2020b. "About LoRa Alliance™." Accessed 2020-08-23.
  21. Metering & Smart Energy International. 2013. "AllSeen Alliance formed to advance the ‘Internet of Everything’." Metering and Smart Energy International, Spintelligent (PTY) Ltd, December 13. Accessed 2018-06-20.
  22. NFC Forum. 2020. "About Us." NFC Forum. Accessed 2020-08-23.
  23. OCF. 2016. "Collaboration will help Thread Group and Open Connectivity Foundation members easily design and build products that leverage both technologies." Press Release, Open Connectivity Foundation, July 27. Accessed 2020-08-23.
  24. OCF. 2016b. "Unification Will Combine the Best of Both Organizations under Open Connectivity Foundation Name and Bylaws." Press Release, Open Connectivity Foundation, October 10. Accessed 2020-08-23.
  25. Postscapes. 2018. "IoT Alliances and Consortium." May 23. Accessed 2018-06-20.
  26. Residential Systems. 2014. "Thread Group Membership Grows to 50 Companies." Residential Systems, December 17. Accessed 2018-06-20.
  27. Sinclair, Bruce. 2015. "A Symbiotic Partnership between Standards Bodies and Consortia." Iot-Inc, March 17. Updated 2019-02-20. Accessed 2020-08-23.
  28. Skerrett, Ian. 2014. "ABCs of IoT Consortiums." DZone, December 15. Accessed 2018-06-20.
  29. Thread Group. 2019. "Zigbee Alliance and Thread Group Achieve a Major Milestone for IoT Interoperability with Release of Dotdot over Thread Specification and Streamlined Certification Programs." Press Release, Thread Group, January 4. Accessed 2020-08-23.
  30. Thread Group. 2020. "What is Thread?" Thread Group. Accessed 2020-08-23.
  31. Turck, Matt. 2018. "Growing Pains: The 2018 Internet of Things Landscape." January 09. Accessed 2018-06-20.
  32. Wikipedia. 2020. "IPSO Alliance." Wikipedia, July 21. Accessed 2020-08-23.

Milestones

Dec
2013

AllSeen Alliance is formed. Premier level members include Haier, LG Electronics, Panasonic, Qualcomm, Sharp, Silicon Image and TP-LINK.

2014
Some IoT alliances and consortiums of 2013-14. Source: Jeppesen 2016.

This is the year when alliances and consortiums start appearing. The Thread Group, Open Interconnect Consortium (OIC) and Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) are all started in 2014. IEEE IoT Initiative is also launched. Thread Group opens for membership in October.

Mar
2015

Open, non-profit LoRa Alliance becomes operational. It's mission is to promote global adoption of the LoRaWAN standard. By 2018, it has 500+ members.

Nov
2015

To accelerate distributed computing, networking and storage for IoT, ARM, Cisco, Dell, Intel, Microsoft and Princeton University Edge Laboratory establish OpenFog Consortium. Focus is to build frameworks and architectures for end-to-end scenarios with capabilities pushed to network edges.

2016

In February, Open Interconnect Consortium (OIC) is renamed into Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF). In October, AllSeen Alliance merges into OCF. OCF will now sponsor both IoTivity and AllJoyn open source projects at The Linux Foundation.

Oct
2017

Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) and EdgeX Foundry merge with a mandate "to align efforts to maximize interoperability, portability, security and privacy for the industrial Internet". EdgeX Foundry, a Linux-backed, open-source project has been "building a common interoperability framework to facilitate an ecosystem for IoT edge computing".

Dec
2019

Apple, Google, Amazon and Zigbee come together to form a new working group under the Zigbee Alliance called Connected Home over IP (CHIP). It's based on IPv6 and meant to work with any PHY or MAC layer for any application or product. However, CHIP leaves out OCF from the discussions, which might create interoperability issues.

Tags

See Also

Further Reading

  1. Postscapes. 2018. "IoT Alliances and Consortium." May 23. Accessed 2018-06-20.
  2. O'Donnell, Lindsey. 2016. "10 IoT Consortiums, Alliances Solution Providers Should Have On Their Radar." CRN Magazine, September 19. Accessed 2018-06-20.
  3. Skerrett, Ian. 2014. "ABCs of IoT Consortiums." DZone, December 15. Accessed 2018-06-20.
  4. Yang, Evelyn. 2015. "New Technology Brings a New Generation of Smart Home." SMAhome, Messe Frankfurt New Era Business Media Ltd., June 16. Accessed 2018-06-20.

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Devopedia. 2020. "IoT Alliances and Consortiums." Version 18, August 24. Accessed 2020-09-22. https://devopedia.org/iot-alliances-and-consortiums