HONG KONG ELECTRONICS SYMPOSIUM: Bruce Liuping, Huawei’s director of enterprise wireless marketing, highlighted Apple’s smartphone success as an example of why broader standards are not necessarily all that important.

In a panel session, Liuping noted Apple’s iOS “is a private standard but it’s so successful, while Android is an international standard, because many other vendors use it.”

“But who is more successful? As long as you are strong enough you will be the standard.”

The Huawei executive was responding to a question on how governments can outline an appropriate approach to nurturing IoT growth, given device numbers are soaring as new applications emerge.

With 30 billion IoT devices forecast to be connected by 2030, Garrick Ng, Cisco CTO for Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, said the vast amount of data which will be generated is less of a problem than the multitude of incompatible formats.

“There are no IoT standards: everybody is working on their own. For example, Cisco is running some smart city projects around the world. Smart lighting systems in different cities run on Wi-Fi, Zigbee, LoRa, RF Mesh et cetera, so the control mechanism is different, authentication is different and the security is different. We have to spend effort to integrate every single one of these.”

Ng said a city shouldn’t have to care about the format it wants results in, it just wants everything to work together.

“We need to build flexible and open platforms to integrate all different types of vendors and data formats. I don’t see things consolidating in the short term. I only see things going to be more [fragmented]. We have to be united and the architecture has to be very open,” he said.

Others on the panel agreed market forces will determine whether open standards or proprietary systems emerge as the winners in the IoT space.