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Open source bods magic up Qualcomm tech to unlock Internet of Things

New alliance AllSeen all a-quiver over AllJoyn

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The Linux Foundation has established an industry-wide initiative to create an accessible-to-all framework for the Internet of Things - or the “Internet of Everything”, as the Foundation now wants us to call it.

Dubbed the AllSeen Alliance - sounds a bit Harry Potter or Terry Pratchett, no? - the organisation will do what no one company can, the Foundation insisted, and “accomplish the level of interoperability required to support the Internet of Everything and address everyday, real-life scenarios”.

No single company? Ironically, perhaps, the technology behind the initiative does come from just one firm: Qualcomm. The ASA’s software framework will be established upon AllJoyn, an object-oriented API for negotiating peer-to-peer connections between devices. Qualcomm has been hawking AllJoyn since 2011.

Qualcomm is now handing AllJoyn over to the ASA, and the open source code will be available to all. The ASA has documentation and API details for a wide variety of platforms, including Android, Arduino, iOS, Mac OS X, Linux, and Windows 7, 8 and RT. The framework has been written in C, C++ and Objective C versions.

AllJoyn operates over Wi-Fi and Ethernet - via dedicated cable or mains powerline links - but the presence of Wilocity and Silicon Image among the ASA’s members will hopefully mean the technology will soon be extended into the 60GHz band and support WiGig, aka IEEE 802.11ad.

In addition to these two and Qualcomm, other ASA members include consumer electronics outfits (Haier, LG, Panasonic and Sharp), networking specialists (Cisco, D-Link, TP-Link, HTC) and a number of start-ups in the IoT/Digital Home markets.

Storage device outfit Lite-on is a member too, and while it might seem odd that a specialist in optical storage would be interested in this kind of thing, don’t forget it has interests, through its Skyla subsidiary, in digital healthcare. Medical sensing is seen as one of the key applications of IoT - provided, of course, the mountainous issue of data privacy can be overcome.

The ASA’s launch comes a week after the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) announced version 4.1 of the wireless connectivity standard, likewise aimed at the emerging IoT world, which, if you believe the forecasts of market watchers like Gartner, will add $1.9 trillion to the global economy by 2020 and see 50 billion devices connected in broadly the same timeframe.

Bluetooth 4.1 might appear to be an AllJoyn rival. Certainly, AllJoyn adds to general purpose data networking systems the kind of service advertisement mechanisms long provided by Bluetooth. However, Bluetooth 4.1 lays the groundwork for the standard to support IPv6 networking in a subsequent version. It may then be possible to run AllJoyn over low-power Bluetooth. ®

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