back to article Top new IoT foundation (yeah, another one) to develop open standards

A new non-profit foundation dedicated to creating open standards for the Internet of Things (IoT) has launched. The Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF) says its main goal is to "help unify IoT standards so that companies and developers can create IoT solutions and devices that work seamlessly together." It is being fronted by …

  1. Chika
    FAIL

    Mee too!!!

    It's a bit like what has happened since the RasPi. Everyone wants a piece but they want it on their own terms and have yet again failed to see the actual point of something like the RasPi. It's all about control. It's all about power.

    And the Raspberry Pi was all about education and innovation.

    Well, there's no easy solution. These "foundations" will battle it out until one is proven as dominant, though that may not be the best one for the job, and many will die in the crossfire.

    Quite sad, really.

    1. BillG Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: Mee too!!!

      Many of these organizations are not traditional standards bodies, because they do not follow traditional standards processes, such as public ratification and publication of standards.

      In most cases these organization only make their publications available first to paid members of the organizations. Because of this, bodies like OCF, IETF, and WiSUN are not a traditional open-standards organizations.

      1. JLV Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Mee too!!!

        >are not traditional standards bodies

        >only make their publications available first to paid members

        If only that meant that traditional open-standards orgs did make their publications available to the public at some point. Looking at you, ANSI, in the context of the where-the-heck-do-I-get-one-without-mortgaging-my-first-born SQL standard* (+/- $350).

        Mind you, the absence of easily consultable SQL standards docs does facilitate the PR work of database vendors in claiming their creations are standards-compliant :-)

        As to this article, I think XKCD needs to step up and revisit https://xkcd.com/927/ with a meta twist.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Haha. This reminds me of the "battle for the living room", when all the companies were trying to "converge" the living room entertainment system into their own vision, be it game console, smart TV, digital media player, etc.

    Except nobody gave a shit.

    These are ALL Betamax. A few % will be early adopters and fill their house with dumb corporate spy sensors, but most people won't care, and IoT will be dead before the decade is out.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      ... and IoT will be dead before the decade is out.

      Promise? Or do we need to instigate at least another 4 or 5 standards groups which might help speed things (death of IoS) up a bit.

      IoS= Internet of Shitte.

    2. nijam

      > ...IoT will be dead before the decade is out

      A Captain Picard moment for me: "Make it so!"

  3. Mikel

    Microsoft can't bear to be in Google's IoT group

    It is in their nature to define their "standard" in ways incompatible with their competition. And in ineffably obscure ways that are impossible to implement. See: their "document standards".

    And of COURSE Intel follows along with everything they do. Because they are spineless puppets. This is why we are going mobile after all, and leaving these two behind.

  4. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    Oh good, just roundabout half a dozen 'standards' then. And here I thought things would be complicated.

    1. Charles Manning

      Standards are great

      That's why there are so many of them..

      Any vendor-based standards miss the whole point of the "internet" bit of Internet of Tat.

      We have anyone's browsers being able to access websites on anyone's servers only because of an RFC-based internet.

      If IoT doesn't do that then it willl be worse than we expect it to be.

  5. Electron Shepherd
    1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Standards...

      My first thought too!

  6. Doctor Syntax Silver badge
    Devil

    Oh goody. Can't have too many. For good measure, how many DevOps foundations are there?

  7. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    IoT - Has it's time passed?

    Is it a solution waiting for a question?

    At the moment, any IoT device won't get past my front door. They realy have to get their act sorted out with respect for Security and Snooping.

    The more devices that you have connectect to a network the more endpoints you have that can get hacked and turned into snooping devices.

    Apart from 'we did it because we could' most of the things that have Internet connections have functioned perfectly well for years without needing to be 'connected'. So effing what if I can switch on a light at my home from the other side of the world. Big Deal. For 99.9999% of us, once the novelty has worn off, we couldn't give a toss about it.

    So why do people think we need this crap everywhere?

    Ok, so I'm not a salesman and never will be but for many of us, we just can't see the point of it. That means that selling IoT enabled crap will be an uphill task especially for Luddites like me.

    1. Mikel

      Re: IoT - Has it's time passed?

      Since I am reading your comment at work on my Android tablet and can't monitor what my lamps, refrigerator and washing machine at doing from here, its time has not yet passed.

      1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

        Re: IoT - Has it's time passed?

        "It's 10 PM - do you know what your lamps are doing?"

      2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        Re: IoT - Has it's time passed?

        Care to explain why it is so vitally important that you know what your devices are doing every second of the day?

        We managed for years without this and ... well we aren't dead yet.

        Will you start getting the DT's if you happen to go into a 'not-spot' and you can't see this data for... perhaps an hour or two?

        So again, why is it so important to your life, your univers and your everything that you know this stuff 24/7/52? If you don't know it, who will care (apart from you)?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: IoT - Has it's time passed?

          With Hive you control your heating ... With your phone.

          Who gives a shit?

          With Hive you control your lighting ... With your phone.

          No seriously, why is that better than a wall switch?

          1. Dominion

            Re: IoT - Has it's time passed?

            I get the lighting bit, but not the heating jibe. It means I can turn the heating on as I leave the office and have a warm house when I arrive home, without wasting gas by having it come on based on a timer. A light doesn't take time to come on so there's no value to it being controlled in the same way. It's true that we survived without such things for many years, but that's true of pretty much everything.

            1. BongoJoe

              Re: IoT - Has it's time passed?

              One thing Hive can't do is to get light the firelighter, put on the kindling and then, when all is ready, put on the wood and then close down the vents.

              Big Brother won't like to try tracking that.

            2. John H Woods

              Re: IoT - Has it's time passed?

              "It means I can turn the heating on as I leave the office and have a warm house when I arrive home, without wasting gas by having it come on based on a timer. "

              Can I ask you how many degrees your indoor temp has dropped by the time you activate the heating?

            3. nijam

              Re: IoT - Has it's time passed?

              > ... without wasting gas by having it come on based on a timer

              But there are already better ways of doing this, for example adaptive systems that take into account ambient temperature, how long it takes the building to warm up, etc.

              1. DropBear Silver badge

                Re: IoT - Has it's time passed?

                "But there are already better ways of doing this, for example adaptive systems that take into account ambient temperature, how long it takes the building to warm up, etc."

                Ah, yes, but what he is inferring is that there are no two days in the 365 days of a year when he's returning home at the same predictable hour. Thankfully, 99.99% of the rest of us are not quite such Wildly Busy And Important Persons.

            4. Mage Silver badge
              Paris Hilton

              Re: IoT - Has it's time passed?

              1) Insulation and Double glazing: House still fairly warm after being out all day.

              2) Timers?: How erratic is you coming home time? it's not much waste to have the heat come on early a with a thermostat regulating it.

              I have only a multi-fuel stove, Google's invasive nest isn't much use for that.

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: IoT - Has it's time passed?

          "Care to explain why it is so vitally important that you know what your devices are doing every second of the day?"

          Whooosh?

    2. Ali Um Bongo
      Headmaster

      IoT = The "Built-In FM Radio" de Nous Jours

      *"...So why do people think we need this crap everywhere?..."*

      Those of you old enough to have been around in the 1970s may remember that there was a corresponding "Futility-Fest" then, following advances in miniaturising solid state electronics, which allowed for [by the standards of the day] the creation of tiny radios.

      Suddenly, everything from carpet slippers to frying pans was boasting "Built In FM Radio!" on the box. Not because anyone seriously thought that Joe Public wanted a surgical truss or spice rack which played tinny pop music, but because every manufacturer was terrified that their own product would suddenly look out-dated, if their rivals managed to shoehorn an FM radio into their offerings.

      Watch as history repeats itself and we see a corresponding —and equally pointless— stampede to "Built In Intarwebs!" defacing our consumer goods for the next few years.

    3. spider from mars

      Re: IoT - Has it's time passed?

      "Is it a solution waiting for a question?"

      My thoughts exactly.

  8. Decade
    Paris Hilton

    The blind leading the blind

    Just make something good already. MVP, and iterate. This futzing around with foundations and frameworks is making things too complicated to work.

    This is why prescriptive standards organizations like the W3C never get anywhere. They need to adopt the IETF model: “Rough consensus and working code.”

  9. Christoph Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Standards are wonderful things

    That's why we have so many of them.

  10. John Tserkezis

    Good to see that security has at the very least a passing mention.

    Not that it's important or anything...

  11. Ole Juul

    So far

    Iot has been a great success for tech publications. Time will tell if it takes off in other fields.

    1. Mellipop

      Re: So far

      Of course it is just like other 'standards'. Not only trade magazines, but also:

      - interoperability test conferences

      - new departments in legacy companies

      - totally new companies with products and services

      - new litigation practices.

      - new government departments to open up infrastructure

      - new government departments to audit the costs

      If we're lucky it'll generate more money (for accountants) than electricity, telegram, telephone, radio, television, computers, mobile phones.

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: So far

      Sort of like Agile and DevOps? I'm sure there's others that fell by the wayside pretty damn quick.

  12. akeane

    They could agree...

    ... to have the same default root password!

  13. Ali Um Bongo
    Angel

    Splitters!

    The only people we hate more than the Romans are the fucking "Internet of Things Popular Foundation"

    Splitters!

    And the "Popular Internet of Things Foundation"

    Yeah. Splitters!

    And the "Popular Foundation for the Internet of Things"

    Yeah. Splitters!

    The "People's Foundation for the Internet of Things"

    Splitters!

    We're the "People's Foundation for the Internet of Things"!

    Oh. I thought we were the "Popular Internet Foundation for Things"?

    "People's Foundation"

    Whatever happened to the "Popular Internet Foundation for Things"?

    He's over there.

    Splitter!

  14. Mage Silver badge
    Devil

    Privacy and Security

    We don't need any of these Organisations. So called IoT is been around as long as the Internet, before even websites.

    We have plenty of good standards.Cue XKCD (Ah I see it's been mentioned). New ones simply mean gadgets won't play nice with printers, PCs, phones, tablets and Routers.

    What we need is enforcement of approved 3rd party CE / FCC testing, in market policing and compliance with basic Privacy and Security standards. But that would remove the major revenue stream Megacorps are drooling about. They'll practically give away this junk if it needs a service contract or subscription, or exploits you for advertisers and revenue.

  15. BongoJoe
    Holmes

    In the meantime...

    ...I was thinking the other day. Whatever happened to the Last Next Big Thing: Glass?

    I've never seen one in the wild. Will I ever?

  16. Richard Plinston Silver badge

    The Actual Problem

    The problem is not the 'Things' nor the 'Internet' but is the way that the big corporations want to control how the things are accessed, and ultimately how you will pay them for this.

    There are many things that are useful to do remotely (over the internet) back into your home, or other sites. For example: remote monitoring of cctv and alarms, setting the house to look occupied (turning lights, music on/off, closing/opening curtains). These may prevent burglaries while you are away. As already mentioned: setting heating.

    It may also be useful to receive notification when your doorbell is rung and you are away, and be able to communicate with them using your phone*.

    The real problem is that the corporations want to route all this traffic through their own cloud networks so that can can monetise this, either by subscriptions, by direct charging for traffic, by adding ads, or by selling data, or all of the above.

    What I would do is to have my own gateway computer that provides a firewall to only allow certain remote devices to access the internal network of things, eliminating the need for anyone else to be involved. This would require having your own fixed IP address - probably requiring IP6. Having the 'things' directly accessing the internet, or being directly accessed from externally is foolish and unnecessary.

    * I should patent the idea of having a speaker phone built into the doorbell that will auto-answer a call from the owner's phone. The doorbell could ring you or send an SMS message.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: The Actual Problem

      Umm.. yeah.... you forget to pay the thermostat bill and suddenly, no heat. Forget the lightbulb bill and you're in the dark. Kettle? Refrigerator? Suddenly not working.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Actual Problem

      You don't need ipv6, and although static is better (any good ISP will be static these days), the old dynamic DNS solution would do at a pinch.

      Open one port to sshd, have your phone connect, and issue commands via the gateway to the dumb "smart" devices. No corporations required.

      The unavoidable cost is all the technical knowledge to set this up. Only super wizard class hackers need apply. Normal people can never have home automation without being pwned by corporations.

  17. Paratrooping Parrot
    Childcatcher

    Too many cooks spoil the broth

    With all these competing IoT foundations and what have you, we are going to have a big mess. Most of the effort will be spent on making their standards as sexy as possible. This will mean there may be a half hearted effort at security. All the networking experts will be working in a fragmented fashion and so the eventual winner will be so full of security holes (as the current crop) that it will be like Swiss Cheese.

    Depending upon how much effort each foundation spent, there may be a time when they will not want to collaborate. So, the basic advice for end users is to wait and see. You may find out that you have absolutely no need for this IoT rubbish. :-)

  18. Allonymous Coward

    You forgot the HyperCat consortium

    Which aims to create an inclusive one-stop shop of best practice IoT implementation through the sharing of knowledge of processes and applications.

    Apparently.

    FFS.

  19. Anonymous Blowhard

    Screw this!

    I'm gonna' go make my own IoT consortium! With blackjack and hookers....in fact, forget the IoT consortium.

    1. Mage Silver badge

      Re: Screw this! With blackjack and hookers

      I love those liquorice chews and the big Galway row boats too.

  20. JLV Silver badge

    Tsssk, tssk, y'all Luddites. Some of this will end up being useful. In 10 years. Maybe.

    I agree with most of the doubters. Count at least 10 years for all of the following to come to pass:

    1. getting a clue about security

    2. actual inter-operability of devices across manufacturers

    3. prices to be reasonable on basic devices rather than early adopter$$$$.

    4. sorting out the wheat from the chaff in terms of usefulness (i.e. smart heating vs smart toothbrush)

    5. incompetent vendors going out of business. possibly after having fleeced Joe Investor.

    6. reliability issues sorted out.

    7. see point #1.

    8. see point #1.

    Heating? Yes, it would be nice to have smarter thermostats. Right now, I have 5 independent wall manual thermostats in my rental apartment, with no brains whatsoever. Replacing them with a programmable runs at $30-40 each. It'd be nice if houses were being built with smart programmable thermostats - I ended up saving 20-30% a month installing just regular programmables in my previous home.

    However... there is a lot of useless crap being thrown out as well, such as smart lightbulbs and smart fridges. Seriously, how much sensor horsepower would you need to pack in a fridge to catch spoiled milk? Or tell you you need buy some milk? How reliable would they be and what would the effect be on device lifetime and/or device cost?

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