The IoT/IoE market develops in a fascinating manner whether at the level of end-points (the Things/Everythings), central-points (Servers for control, monitoring and analytics) or middle-points (the gateway between the Thing/Everything and Servers).
Commercial players in different areas and from different markets; whether they are chip manufactures, software developers or network operators; try to influence the future of the IoT market in way that serves best their interest.
In the same time, many Open Initiatives is emerging to bring some order to this market through standardisation and to enable free(*) access to this new technology.
Most commercial players have started and continue to push their proprietary solutions to the market to strength their position. However, this will lead to a segmented market and frustrated customers with a huge lost globally due to the absence of interoperability.
These issues would be avoided by opening the market as much as possible with the adoption of Open Standards, and by encouraging and privileging Open Hardware Design, Open Source Software and Open Networks.
A key concept in this regard is modular products with standard interfaces.
The hardware and software for IoT Servers as well as the connectivity between the IoT Gateways and IoT Servers can hardly be influenced as they are shared with other markets. Thought, designers of IoT Solutions are highly encouraged to use Open Standards for the connectivity such as MQTT, CoAP, AMQP and XMPP. and Open Software Framworks like Eclipse SmartHome and OM2M.
In the opposite, the hardware and the software for both IoT Objects and IoT Gateways as well as the connectivity between them is in a very early stage that permits directing the effort of all market players toward modular with open interfaces products.
A worth to mention initiatives in this regard are:
- At the hardware level:
- The Open Source Hardware Association that promote open hardware design
- At the software level:
- AllJoyn Framewarke from AllSeen Alliance and IoTivity Framework from Open Interconnect Consortium suitable for the development of secure applications for IoT Objects and IoT Gateways
- FreeRTOS, ChibiOS and RIOT suitable as operating systems for IoT Objects
- Linux suitable as operating system for IoT Gateways and IoT Servers
- Eclipse projects for IoT to build enterprise-grade solutions
- At the connectivity level:
- At the infrastructure level:
- The Things Network as an open public network to interconnect IoT Gateways and IoT Objects
There is no doubt that business can be built around proprietary and closed solutions. However, the market of IoT will benefit more from open initiatives. The engineering of mechanical systems is a good example to follow.
(*) 'free' as in freedom