By John Park, Executive Director of OCF
2019 saw a significant amount of IoT coverage, ranging from healthcare impact, to exciting technology developments and massive market expansion. While many of the IoT discussions were positive, scrutiny was also prominent, with concerns about IoT security breaches and implementation barriers dominating the news cycle.
One thing is evident to OCF: to address IoT security concerns and implementation barriers, the industry as a whole must come together in order to achieve a secure and interoperable IoT. This was OCF’s focus in 2019. Our organization advanced its work in the IoT standard space, collaborating with various industry organizations to create industry-standard security requirements, end-to-end IoT solutions, and developing an industry-standard cloud API. Below, we’ve summarized some of our top 2019 accomplishments:
OCF Education Expands to China, Korea and India
This year, we saw amazing progress within the OCF China, Korea, and India forums thanks to their great leadership. We introduced the OCF China Forum and OCF India Forum, which are dedicated to promoting OCF technology as the go-to standard for their regional IoT ecosystems. OCF China Forum held its first event for more than 70 participating companies, where attendees received a high-level overview of IoTivity and OCF.
OCF India Forum launched OCF India Day at Open Source India 2019, leading keynote presentations, a developer workshop, and interactive booth to engage the local developer community in discussions about OCF and the importance of open source solutions.
The OCF Korea Forum, first launched in 2017, made regional progress with OCF Korea Day and their participation in Seoul’s KRnet Conference. These were comprised of developer contests, IoTivity training and more. In addition to the Korea Day event, OCF Korea Forum began the development of an OCF-based submetering service and an edge-computing smart home hub. Thanks to these regional forums, OCF is extending its benefits of built-in security and interoperability to developers and manufacturers around the globe.
IoT Solutions Advance with Industry Collaboration
OCF has been busy collaborating with various industry organizations to help advance the IoT. We were happy to announce our unification with the Fairhair Alliance, combining two proven, reliable IoT frameworks to advance interoperability and security for automated buildings and lighting. Moving forward, OCF will maintain the Fairhair specification, helping to reduce time-to-market by standardizing the onboarding for Building Automation Control and Lighting Control devices.
Our collaboration continued with Cascoda and Thread Group, bringing OCF-over-Thread to life — a certifiable solution that simplifies the development of end-to-end products for smart homes and smart commercial buildings. This solution addresses security and interoperability at both the application layer and network layer. We saw the release of the first OCF-over-Thread solution with Cascoda’s Chili2 Module — a low-cost, pre-certified IP-based module that provides scalability, PKI and TEE security, more range, and lower power. CES 2020 attendees can see a live demonstration of OCF-over-Thread in Cascoda booth #50902-B.
OCF Helps Industry Players Map Out IoT Security Capabilities
With IoT security concerns looming, OCF actively joined forces with industry organizations to support and develop core security capabilities. During the OCF face-to-face meeting, Michael Fagan of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) engaged in discussions with OCF members about NIST’s ongoing work to improve IoT security. This included the development of the Core Cybersecurity Feature Baseline for Securable IoT Devices report. OCF worked closely with NIST to ensure that OCF specifications map to the IoT baseline capabilities outlined in this NIST report.
OCF furthered its progress in IoT security by collaborating with the Council to Secure the Digital Economy (CSDE) and Consumer Technology Association (CTA). Together, with more than 20 trade associations, organizations and industry alliances, the Convening of Conveners (C2) project developed the C2 document, a consensus of baseline capabilities to help drive increased IoT security. Included in this document is an annex that maps the OCF specification to the C2 Consensus security capabilities. These capabilities include device identifiers verified and attested using OCF’s new PKI, data validation, patchability, reprovisioning and more. The full C2 Consensus on IoT Devices Security Baseline Capabilities can be downloaded here.
Reduction of Time-to-Market with Module Certification
This year, OCF addressed the complicated process of certifying and testing IoT devices by launching the certification of modules, or sensors and actuators. Through the OCF Certification Program, submitted sensors and actuators are tested rigorously to ensure the code is working and the module is secure. Pre-certified modules help vendors reduce cost and time-to-market, as a module reused in another design or implementation does not need to be re-tested.
Development of OCF Universal Cloud Interface (UCI), Ready for Deployment Today
Our final accomplishment of the year was developing and completing our Universal Cloud Interface (UCI), an internet protocol to facilitate device-to-cloud and cloud-to cloud connectivity. Included in OCF Specification 2.1, OCF UCI standardizes cloud server and device to cloud connectivity among different manufacturers. With this release, manufacturers no longer have to waste time and resources developing and maintaining proprietary APIs. With OCF 2.1 compliant devices in the works, we’re looking forward to seeing the benefits of OCF UCI being utilized in 2020. Manufacturers interested in developing IoT products that “just work” are invited to use this framework today.
New Organizational Structure for a New Year
Starting January 2, 2020, OCF will have a new organizational structure which scopes company’s IPR obligations according to the work groups of which they are a member, along with the introduction of Domain Work Groups which scope the work (and IPR generated) to a specific application domain (e.g. Smarthome, Smart Commercial Buildings, etc.).
Additionally, the OCF Core Framework will be separated both logically and physically in specifications and open source to promote its reuse across multiple application domains. The use of OCF data models will also no longer be required for members to leverage the power of the OCF Core Framework in their applications.
Looking ahead to 2020, OCF plans to continue its collaborative work with industry organizations, member companies, and regulatory bodies in order to unlock the full potential of the IoT. We thank all those who were involved in our 2019 milestones and are looking forward to a more secure, interoperable IoT in the new year.