Interoperability has become a staple in making any industry more successful. The telecommunications industry has embraced interoperability and openness in order to create a more flexible communications network. In the healthcare industry, for example, an interoperable environment improves the delivery of healthcare by making the right data available at the right time to the right people or any device. When it comes to the Internet of Things (IoT), there are a variety of form factors, devices, frameworks, and ecosystems that makes it both exciting and complex. By focusing on interoperability, we can take the IoT to a new level, allowing different devices to communicate seamlessly and securely across ecosystems.
Where Do Standards Fit in? Consumers desire interoperability within the IoT for a number of reasons, but most enterprises struggle to provide interoperability of their IoT components and devices. One resolution for this interoperability and connectivity challenge is to have common standards within the IoT.
IoT standards, like interoperability, ensure cooperation and seamless connectivity between different environments and networks. By allowing devices from different vendors to communicate, IoT standards enable and increase the number of compatible devices in an ecosystem, as well as, promote firmware and device diversity.
One of main pillars of the Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF) is to provide interoperability for the IoT. OCF’s IoTivity open source project provides an open source IoT framework with the goal of connecting devices with each other and with the internet to ensure a secure a robust architecture that works for all devices and all ecosystems. By supporting such a vital part of the evolving IoT, OCF continues to fulfill its mission of solving the IoT standards gap providing not only source code, but also specifications, a reference application for set-up and control, plus a certification program. All of those enable manufacturers to bring interoperable OCF-certified products to market and seamlessly bridge other ecosystems with a user’s smart home or automated building or utility.
What are the Benefits of Interoperability?
- Adoption: The lack of interoperability within the IoT right now is one of the biggest barriers to IoT adoption. If a consumer’s connected devices are too difficult to install, can’t communicate with each other, or connect to a network, IoT growth will continue to be stunted. If all devices are created with interoperability in mind, anyone deploying a connected device will not have to worry about different network types, devices or ecosystems.
- Sustainability: Interoperability is not just important for short-term IoT adoption, but also for long term transformation of the IoT, leading to scalability and sustainability. If each device in a smart home is able to seamlessly collect, analyze, and share data with other devices, this offers manufactures visibility into the lifecycle of devices and the ecosystems they create. If devices stop connecting or communicating, consumers will be forced to continue purchasing new devices in shorter amounts of time, leading to additional spending. When manufacturers get an idea of how well and how long a device will hold up in different networks and ecosystems, they can plan application and device updates years in advance. This type of planning drives innovation and sustainability within the IoT.
- User Experience: Interoperability offers convenience and ease to users. Without interoperability, consumers feel a direct impact in their user experience. Consumers want the installation and use of their connected devices, applications, and networks to be easy. When consumers use several different applications to control each of their devices, the user experience is muddled and disjointed. Interoperability between connected devices enables seamless connections between devices and networks, providing convenience and improvements to the daily lives of consumers and other IoT end users.
Interested in joining leaders from around the world in defining the connectivity requirements to improve interoperability between billions of IoT devices? Join the OCF today.