Microsoft has become a member of the AllSeen Alliance, the group pushing for the AllJoyn open standard for connected devices that could drive the development of the Internet of Things (IoT).
AllJoyn enables devices to communicate their function and capabilities using a unified format, without the limitations provided by the use of proprietary code. This approach should enable connected systems to be scaled to include thousands of devices.
Chipmaker Qualcomm developed the standard but turned it into an open source project with the AllSeen Alliance, formed towards the end of 2013. The Alliance now has 51 members, including LG and Panasonic.
Liat Ben-Zur, chairman of the AllSeen Alliance said Microsoft’s “strong presence in the home via computers, tablets, phones, gaming platforms and their strength in the consumer, enterprise, education, industrial automotive sectors, uniquely enables them to accelerate the adoption of the AllSeen Alliance’s AllJoyn open source code across a very wide swath of products and verticals”.
Kevin Dallas, general manager for Microsoft’s operating systems group, said in order to make IoT a success “there are challenges to be addressed in securely connecting and managing all these devices and interacting with could services and machine-generated data”.
“We believe the AllSeen Alliance is a very important effort to collaboratively address these challenges, and we’re excited about joining the initiative,” Dallas added.
Microsoft is looking to develop IoT technology with its Windows Embedded team and has extensive cloud capabilities via the Azure platform, which could also play a role in the development of a connected ecosystem.
Speaking to Mobile World Live in February, Rob Chandhok, Qualcomm’s president of interactive platforms, said the Alliance is focused on using the open source platform to build an ecosystem.
“But even more importantly than open source, is it’s actually open governance. So the important bit about the AllSeen Alliance is this is really signalling that Qualcomm is quite serious about the openness of the platform to the point of giving the code to the alliance and becoming just one vote among many for the direction of the code,” Chandhok explained.
“We feel so strongly that the industry needs this standardisation that we said we’re going to invest in that because if more things get connected our business will do well also,” he added.
Reuters sources said other chipmakers plan to launch a rival standards consortium as early as next week.