Some top hardware companies have established a new Internet of Things consortium to create standards so that billions of devices can connect to each other.
Intel, Samsung and Dell are among the founding members of Open Interconnect Consortium (OIC), which later this year will deliver the first of many specifications for hassle-free data flow between devices, regardless of the OS, device type or wireless communication technology.
The OIC companies will contribute open source code so developers can write common software stacks for communications and notifications across handsets, remote controls, wearables, appliances and other sensor devices.
The consortium will first establish standards around connectivity, discovery and authentication of devices, and data-gathering instruments in "smart homes," consumer electronics and enterprises, said Gary Martz, product line manager at Intel.
OIC will later target vertical sectors like automotive and health care, where devices and communication technologies are different, Martz said.
Roughly 212 billion devices will be connected by 2020, highlighting the need for standards in IoT, said Doug Fisher, vice president and general manager of the Software and Services Group at Intel. He cited numbers from IDC.
OIC's IoT platform will establish a "clean" way to exchange information and overcome barriers related to wireless data transports, authentication mechanisms, security technologies and OSes, Fisher said.
OIC isn't the first IoT standards group. Earlier this month Microsoft joined the AllSeen Alliance, a group established last December. OIC has many of the same goals as AllSeen, which wants to establish a common software framework for discovery and connectivity between devices. One of AllSeen's pillars is AllJoyn, Qualcomm's software platform so that smartphones, smartwatches, tablets and PCs can talk to each other.
But other IoT groups aren't focused on security and authentication, Martz said. OIC will share specifications and code with other groups to establish a common IoT interface, he said.
OIC will certify devices compliant with its standards. The group will work on standards encompassing a range of wireless technologies including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, ZigBee and NFC (near-field communication).
Other founding members of OIC include chip makers Atmel and Broadcom. OIC is also reaching out to electronics makers and more members will be announced later this year.