Internet Of Things Standards Are Years Away – Roundtable

Internet of things fibre cable circuit board network © asharkyu Shutterstock
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There are still too many standards for the Internet of Things, according to an industry roundtable.

The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to revolutionise our home and business lives, but it cannot take off properly until there is a single interconnection standard, according to an industry roundtable held this summer.

In the last his year, tech giants have manoeuvred for position in IoT, a movement which proposes that all devices should have connections to the Internet, which can be used to gather data and optimise processes, creating smart grids, smart cities and smart homes. However, it is still an open question how those devices will communicate – and the Incisor TV round table concluded that any unity is still some way off.

incisor tv IoT roundtableIt’s like Game of Thrones out there

Google has invested in Nest, and there are rival standards bodies, as well as moves in wearable tech from firms including Apple and Samsung. But all of them are proprietary.

IoT devices will have to communicate wirelessly, because there will be so many of them, the effort of wiring them up would be uneconomic. But what technology? There’s a plethora of standards bodies and proprietary technologies which could be used to connect IoT devices, including Bluetooth Low Energy, Wi-Fi, 3G and 4G cellular, powerline, DECT and Weightless, as well as specialised technologies such as Zigbee.

As long as there is no clear leader, any company making a device such as a washing machine will have a hard time deciding what communications chip to build in. But the problem goes deeper, argues Professor William Webb of the Weightless Consortium: attaching a device to a local hub is going to be complex enough, but the device will need to communicate beyond that hub to cloud services if it is to produce the efficiency gains that the IoT promises.  For this reason, he believes that the ultimate winner will be a long-range technology.

But which of the existing technologies will be eliminated first in the coming Game of Thrones -style bloodbath? And what applications will really drive the Internet of Things into existence?

The roundtable includes yours truly – TechWeek editor Peter Judge – along with representatives of major wireless standards efforts, and is hosted by Incisor TV and analyst firm IHS. Watch it to find out our view of the Internet of Things’ future.

Quiz: Do you know what’s what in the Internet of Things?

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