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IoT Alliance: Open Interconnect Consortium

Internet of Things, IoT Alliance
Author: Mark
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
8:16 am

Hidden Wires article on July 10, 2014, announced, “Atmel, Broadcom, Dell, Intel, Samsung and Wind River Form Open Interconnect Consortium to Drive Seamless Device-to-Device Connectivity.”

Technology industry leaders Atmel Corporation, Broadcom Corporation, Dell, Intel Corporation, Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., and Wind River, are joining forces to establish a new industry consortium focused on improving interoperability and defining the connectivity requirements for the billions of devices that will make up the Internet of Things (IoT). The Open Interconnect Consortium (OIC) is focused on defining a common communications framework based on industry standard technologies to wirelessly connect and intelligently manage the flow of information among personal computing and emerging IoT devices, regardless of form factor, operating system or service provider.

Member companies will contribute software and engineering resources to the development of a protocol specification, open source implementation, and a certification program, all with a view of accelerating the development of the IoT. The OIC specification will encompass a range of connectivity solutions, utilizing existing and emerging wireless standards and will be designed to be compatible with a variety of operating systems.


The Open Interconnect Consortium website described the following key activities:

  • We are defining the specification, certification & branding to deliver reliable interoperability — a connectivity framework that abstracts complexity.
  • This standard will be an open specification that anyone can implement and is easy for developers to use.
  • It will include IP protection & branding for certified devices (via compliance testing) and service-level interoperability.
  • There will also be an Open Source implementation of the standard.
  • This Open Source implementation will be designed to enable application developers and device manufacturers to deliver interoperable products across Android, iOS, Windows, Linux, Tizen, and more.

It is good to see organizations collaborate on interoperable standards.  Hopefully, this will move the whole industry towards standards and better ways to make the IoT ecosystem work.



Nix Color Sensor: The photoshop eyedropper in real life

Internet of Things, IoT Sensor
Author: Mark
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
7:30 am

Nix Main Photo 400x510

What a cool idea!  The Nix Color Sensor has been called “The photoshop eyedropper in real life.” 

Just touch Nix to any object and instantly know the exact color in RGB, CMYK, HTML, Lab, and even paint from your favorite brand!

Sensing color, easily and accurately, is a big step forward for the average person.

I have seen my wife agonizing over house paint colors.  For my daughter who is a scrapbooking expert, even the slightest variations of color are critical. To have an easy to use sensor with a wireless app.  Again – way cool!

And for the real geeks among us:

Nix has partnered with Arduino  Have a cool niche use for Nix? (Banana ripeness tester anyone?) You can easily reprogram it with all the familiar tools available in the Arduino IDE!

What could you do with a color sensor? That sounds like a contest in the making!


IoT Alliance: ZigBee

Internet of Things, IoT Alliance
Author: Mark
Wednesday, July 30, 2014
3:00 am


Multiple alliances of companies, government agencies and other group have arisen over the past several years to address standardization and interoperability in the Internet of Things.  This post is the first in a series to describe existing alliances as I become more familiar with them.

The ZigBee Alliance was established in 2002 as an open, non-profit association of members interested in forming a thriving, global IoT ecosystem. Members include “multi-national, well known public companies, governmental regulatory groups, universities and entrepreneurial start-ups.”  

The ZigBee Alliance publishes three IoT specifications to address base networking and interoperability:

  1. The core ZigBee specification defines ZigBee’s smart, cost-effective and energy-efficient mesh network. It’s an innovative, self-configuring, self-healing system of redundant, low-cost, very low-power and even battery-free nodes that enable ZigBee’s unique flexibility, mobility and ease of use.
  2. ZigBee IP is the first open standard for an IPv6-based full wireless mesh networking solution and provides seamless Internet connections to control low-power, low-cost devices. It connects dozens of the different devices into a single control network.
  3. The specialty-use driven ZigBee RF4CE was designed for simple, two-way device-to-device control applications that do not require the full-featured mesh networking capabilities offered by the ZigBee specification. ZigBee RF4CE offers lower memory size requirements thereby enabling lower cost implementations.

The ZigBee Alliance publishes standards to guide IoT implementation in a variety of markets:

  1. ZigBee Building Automation (Efficient commercial spaces)
  2. ZigBee Remote Control (Advanced remote controls)
  3. ZigBee Smart Energy (Home energy savings) 
  4. Smart Energy Profile 2 (IP-based home energy management) 
  5. ZigBee Health Care (Health and fitness monitoring)
  6. ZigBee Home Automation (Smart homes)
  7. ZigBee Input Device (Easy-to-use touchpads, mice, keyboards, wands)
  8. ZigBee Light Link (LED lighting control)
  9. ZigBee Retail Services (Smarter shopping)
  10. ZigBee Telecom Services (Value-added services) 
  11. ZigBee Network Devices (Assist and expand ZigBee networks)

These eleven standards are also used to group products that have been “ZigBee Certified.” ZigBee claims over 600 certified products from over 400 companies with products, but I counted 228 products from a wide variety of manufacturers on the Certified Products page. These products ranged from simple consumer items to more complex industrial devices.

The ZigBee Alliance may be the oldest IoT Alliance, and has demonstrated a lot of progress in product interoperability.  Will the ZigBee standards prevail?  Time will tell.


IEEE – Standard for an Architectural Framework for the Internet of Things

Internet of Things
Author: Mark
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
4:17 pm


In June, 2014, the IEEE Standards Association launched a new standards development project  IEEE P2413™, “IEEE Standard for an Architectural Framework for the Internet of Things (IoT).”  The stated objective:

Upon completion, the standard will provide a robust architectural framework for the IoT, reducing market fragmentation, improving interoperability, and serving as a catalyst for continued IoT growth and advancement.

Oleg Logvinov, chair, IEEE P2413 WG; and director, special assignments, Industrial and Power Conversion Division, STMicroelectronics stated:

This is one of those rare watershed moments, where the world gets to witness the dawn of a new age of technology innovation. The growing intersection of smart technologies and high-speed communications will produce profound, positive changes in nearly every aspect of our daily lives. Smart cities, homes, and workplaces; e-health; resilient, self-healing power grids; digital factories; cleaner transportation; immersive entertainment – these are just a few areas of economic opportunity that would benefit from the increased interoperability and portability that a standardized IoT architecture brings.

I salute IEEE for undertaking this mission.  Usable standards for Interoperability architectures should accelerate IoT growth by making real implementation more straightforward and economically feasible.


Internet of Things Expo

Internet of Things
Author: Mark
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
1:27 pm


An announcement for the Internet of Things Expo  to be held November 4-6, 2014, in New York City, dropped into my email box today.  It looks like an intriguing lineup of topics will be addressed.

Consumer IoT

  • Wearables
  • Smart Appliances
  • Smart Cars
  • Smartphones 2.0
  • Automation
  • Smart Travel
  • Personal Fitness
  • Health Care
  • Personalized Marketing
  • Customized Shopping
  • Personal Finance
  • The Digital Divide
  • Mobile Cash & Markets
  • Games & The IoT
  • The Future of Education
  • Virtual Reality

Enterprise IoT

  • The Business Case for IoT
  • Smart Grids
  • Smart Cities
  • Smart Transportation
  • The Smart Home
  • M2M
  • Authentication/Security
  • Wiring the IoT
  • The Internet of Everything
  • Digital Transformation of Enterprise IT
  • Agriculture
  • Transportation
  • Manufacturing
  • Local & State Government
  • Federal Government

IoT Developers

  • Eclipse Foundation
  • Cloud Foundry
  • Linux Containers
  • Node-Red
  • Open Source Hardware
  • Ajax and the IoT
  • Leveraging SOA
  • Multi-Cloud IoT
  • Evolving Standards
  • WebSockets
  • Security & Privacy Protocols
  • GPS & Proximity Services
  • Bluetooth/RFID/etc
  • XMPP
  • Nest Labs

I was encouraged to see that Consumer and Enterprise IoT have been split into separate sections.  i was dismayed to see that the only season that seems to be related to the critical topic of security is in the Developer track.  It would seem to me that security would be a more pervasive business issue affecting both consumer and enterprise IoT, not just a technical developer issue.

I don’t know yet whether I will attend.  We shall see!


Welcome to The Zen of #IoT

Internet of Things
Author: Mark
Thursday, July 24, 2014
11:46 am

Welcome to my new blog, The Zen of #IoT.


For nearly a decade, I have been professionally immersed in the wonderful world of Identity and Access Management.  I have been an active participant as IAM market has matured from a wild and wooly free-for-all to a more sedate, finely-tuned, fiercely competitive market where innovation has become more incremental and of the sustaining sort, rather than the highly disruptive variety that fuels new markets and excites my imagination.

For the past year or so, I have begun to explore the emerging world of the Internet of things, which is probably more correctly called the Internet of Everything, as Cisco declares, or The Internet of Everything and Everyone  as Martin Kuppinger suggests.  Whatever it is called, I am intrigued and excited by the possibilities.  I have begun to benefit personally: I carry a Fitbit to track my exercise; I installed a WeMo switch to remotely control an attic fan; I am anxiously waiting for Fuse to send me IoT telematics devices for my cars; I am planning to instrument a Yellow Jeep for a trip to Fairbanks, Alaska and back.

So … now is the time to turn up the heat, to increase the emphasis, to sharpen the focus. Here are a little Zen of IoT FAQ:

Why IoT? 

While I still view IAM as a fundamental foundation to both enable and protect business, IoT is a logical and exciting next step.  IoT is really a convergence of many exciting technologies, including miniaturization, networks, mobile, social, cloud, big data … all enabled by IAM.  Every device and every software component, and every person who interacts with them has an Identity to be somehow managed and secured.  

Expansion of these technologies in an increasingly hostile world will bring both wonderful, enlightening benefits and dark, daunting threats to our society.  I want to be a meaningful part of the solution.

But aren’t you an identity guy through and through?

Well, I’m really a technology business guy. My dad says that he knew I was going to be an engineer when I first twisted a pair of wires together. I started my career as a digital electronics designer. Then, for a decade, I was an automated manufacturing guy.  My first stint at Oracle – a telecom guy. Then I became known as the Identity guy. Life proceeds in stages, each building on the preceding ones. Identity is a fundamental enabler for IoT, as is telecom, as is automation and control, as is digital electronics, as is twisted wires.  The last decade of my career will be a convergence of everything I have learned, and all I will yet learn.  Ten years from now, you’ll probably just remember me as Mr. IoT.

Why the blog?

I first launched the Discovering Identity blog on May 13, 2005.  It quickly progressed from novelty to passion, and ultimately proved to be the best single thing I did to advance my career at Sun Microsystems. I found that writing for the blog helped to crystallize ideas in my mind at the same time I was communicating with others. In the emerging world of IAM, it was an extremely valuable tool to explore and learn and progressively understand the new field in which I was immersed.  It also became a valuable historical repository of ideas I could use to educate others and build upon for myself.

Now, almost a decade since my first post, blogs aren’t nearly so novel. I realize that this new blog will be but a tiny minnow in a virtual sea of online stuff. But it will still be my personal canvas for crystallizing and communicating ideas.  I hope to leverage blog posts into illuminating discussions with others.  I hope some of these discussions will be with you.

Why not just post IoT stuff to Discovering Identity?

It’s about focus. This blog is about IoT. I will still talk about IAM and Security and other stuff on Discovering Identity.  I talk about personal goals and achievement and conquering tough obstacles on the Yellow Jeep Journey blog.  I will cross-post between the blogs when appropriate. But here, we talk about IoT.

Here are two lists you may enjoy – IoT posts on my other two blogs:

Why Zen?

You can read the about page on this blog for a more detailed explanation, but in a nutshell … Zen is about seeking enlightenment and searching for meaning, and I am seeking enlightenment in IoT.

I named my first blog “Discovering Identity.”  It was an appropriate name for my quest to understand the expanding world of IAM.  Now, I am immersing myself in discovering all I can in the new field of IoT.  I figured if a book could be titled, “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance,” and my college physics professor could expound the merits of the “Zen of Physics,” I could suggest a search for enlightenment in “The Zen of #IoT.”

This blog isn’t connected with Zen in Buddhism, but I deeply respect the search for enlightenment, which the Zen school of thought espouses.

Why the hashtag?

Why not?  We are in the age of social media. I can still remember (a long time ago in Internet years) when the hashtag was first introduced by some Twitter users.  It was a novelty then, but is certainly mainstream now.  Have you watched Jimmy Fallon lately?

Besides, with #Iot in the title, the Twitter post automatically generated by IFTTT whenever I post to this blog will automatically include “hashtag”IoT.

Why now?

I figure I have about a decade left in my professional career – give or take.  I want to make this decade the most productive, most meaningful of my career.  I don’t want to just slide into retirement by waiting out the clock.  Based on my observations, the Internet of Things is the most exciting field I can pursue for this last, best decade!

Copyright © 2014, Mark G. Dixon. All Rights Reserved.
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