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Intel Microsoft News Technology

Microsoft, Intel, Samsung, Other Tech Companies Form New IoT Alliance (techtimes.com) 156

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the next step toward technological advancement but it requires a huge effort on manufacturers' and developers' part to make different devices and operating systems to function seamlessly with one another. Now, many of the big names in the industry are banding together to form the Open Connectivity Foundation or OCF to set standards for IoT devices. The lineup includes ARRIS, CableLabs, Cisco, Electrolux, GE Digital, Intel, Microsoft, Qualcomm, and Samsung, which will all work closely with one another to set rules and specifications to guarantee a singular advancement in the field.
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Microsoft, Intel, Samsung, Other Tech Companies Form New IoT Alliance

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    This will be as successful as the HDMI-CEC design.

  • Important question (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 22, 2016 @01:15AM (#51556235)

    Does this consortium plan to set standards for security? I'm not convinced that the biggest issue facing IoT is interoperability but rather the security (or lack of it) in many devices. Many of the ideas are very cool, but unless they're secured, IoT devices are backdoors into otherwise secure networks. I'm hoping that the result is an industry standard for IoT security.

    • by U2xhc2hkb3QgU3Vja3M ( 4212163 ) on Monday February 22, 2016 @01:19AM (#51556249)

      Microsoft is involved so you can be sure that (lack of) security will be implemented.

    • We can be sure as Hell they aren't about to implement any actual security -- that is, the security of allowing the devices to be controlled by the owner's server rather than some bullshit third-party "cloud" service, so that the owner's data isn't spewed everywhere and passed around like a cheap whore.

    • by WaffleMonster ( 969671 ) on Monday February 22, 2016 @02:21AM (#51556455)

      Does this consortium plan to set standards for security?

      Sure like they did for UPnP.

      I'm not convinced that the biggest issue facing IoT is interoperability but rather the security (or lack of it) in many devices.

      My guess the biggest issue facing IoT is lack of a compelling value proposition.

      Telling even with over the top cheerleading of TFA "The Internet of Things (IoT) is definitely the next step toward technological advancement" they chose to mention an Internet connected fridge and "smart shoes".

      Many of the ideas are very cool, but unless they're secured, IoT devices are backdoors into otherwise secure networks

      That's a tall order given the business case for IoT in consumer space is exfiltration of private information, government sponsored snooping and ads.

      I'm hoping that the result is an industry standard for IoT security.

      The industry standard for IoT is the front page of the New York times.

      • Telling even with over the top cheerleading of TFA "The Internet of Things (IoT) is definitely the next step toward technological advancement" they chose to mention an Internet connected fridge and "smart shoes".

        Smart shoes are likely to thrive as a niche. Runners already pay hundreds of dollars for shoes and can see obvious conveniences to smart shoes, so why not?Most of us will never be wearing smart shoes, but that doesn't mean it won't be a billion dollar industry.

      • Does this consortium plan to set standards for security?

        Sure like they did for UPnP.

        Which is also on the OCF web site, UPnP Specifications [openconnectivity.org]

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        Sure like they did for UPnP.

        Come on, that's just cynical. WPS is almost secure! And it only took them three attempts to get wifi security sort of right!

        The real problem is the users. To be honest, I'm kinda guilty of this too... I bought a TV and couldn't get it to turn on. Fired off a quick email to the shop... Then RTFM and found the physical power button. In my defence it was quite well hidden.

        When you are talking millions of units, you can guarantee that there will be thousands and thousands of "hurrr durrr how do i wifi??!1" call

        • To be fair, TVs are supposed to be designed for the average moron to use. If you had trouble finding the power switch, then that TV was probably a very bad design, and deserves bad reviews and a reputation for being hard to use. Turning on a TV should be a no-brainer, and if it isn't, the designer failed.

    • Security and encryption will be integrated as part of v3 of the hardware release.

    • No, the biggest issue is that IoT is a solution in search of a problem. There really isn't that much of a value proposition for the consumer. I don't need my fucking coffee maker talking to my toaster or my microwave or my thermostat or doorbell. I don't need my refrigerator noticing that I'm almost out of milk, and reordering milk from Amazon at twice the price I could pay at the convenience store down the street.

      Just one example: An IP-connected thermostat is only marginally more useful than a digit
      • Actually, I want to be able to tell my Amazon Echo to turn off the lights, because I'm too lazy to get out of the bed and walk over to the light switch. So there is some application for an IoT, but I'm not sure the $500 it takes to achieve a voice-activated light switch is really worth it for all consumers.
        • by sjames ( 1099 )

          At $500, it would be cheaper to add a wired light switch next to the bed.

        • Actually, one thing I really would like is a house that responds to voice commands and does more things automatically for me. I don't want it all going through my phone though (though it might be nice to have some kind of status display app on my phone to check up on my home while I'm away). But for starters and an example, it'd be really nice if I could use a voice command at night to turn on the lights, instead of having to fumble around in the dark for a switch. It'd be even nicer if I could use a voi

        • Actually, I want to be able to tell my Amazon Echo to turn off the lights, because I'm too lazy to get out of the bed and walk over to the light switch.

          That problem was solved 30 years ago [wikipedia.org].

          There's also my $10 solution, which is commonly called a "desk lamp".

      • Another example: Do you know how often I need to leave work, drive home, and let my daughter into the house because the stupid bitch forgot her key? It would be really nice to be able to unlock the door remotely. (I haven't yet put an electronic keypad lock on the front door like I had for her all while she was growing up. She can actually remember PIN codes.)
        • by sjames ( 1099 )

          So what does idIoT give you that the keypad doesn't?

        • I'm not sure that letting some dicey app and its authors control my door via the "cloud" is any more secure than just putting a key under the doormat. It certainly costs more.

    • by sjames ( 1099 )
      >p>They don't want them to be secure. Secure devices wouldn't phone home and make themselves dependent on the continuing good will of whoever owns the server out there that they have been made to depend on to even provide dumb functionality.

      IoT could be a decent thing if it spoke a clean and really open protocol and communicated with a server on the LAN using a properly authenticated protocol.

  • Then everyone can use them everywhere. Honest.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    >Microsoft

    >Intel

    If i want a bunch of intimate devices forwarding everything I do to third parties,, and having backdoors I now know who to buy from.

    • by jrumney ( 197329 )
      Having your intimate devices exposed where they can be controlled by people who do not know your safe word, is probably not such a great idea.
    • I wouldn't bunch Intel in w/ Microsoft. What specific initiatives of theirs can you identify which undermines your privacy, like Microsoft's Telemetry does?
  • Backdoor Alliance (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zenlessyank ( 748553 ) on Monday February 22, 2016 @01:35AM (#51556299)
    Gotta make sure those backdoors have compatible interoperability.
  • For Cisco, they already use an IoT standard.. it works great... it's also as easy to implement as H.323 and as well documented as ONCRPC.
  • For only a nominal fee of $1,000 dollars, you too can become OCF certified! http://openconnectivity.org/jo... [openconnectivity.org]
    • Are you trying to be funny because you think this is expensive or because you realise this is quite cheap compared to any other certification out there?

  • by Dracos ( 107777 ) on Monday February 22, 2016 @02:04AM (#51556413)

    This is a power grab by established giants to prevent an emerging market from getting away from their control. There are no actual IoT entities here: Raspberry Pi Foundation, Arduino LLC, etc. Not even ARM Holdings, whose chips designs will be in most IoT devices. Just the overrepresentation of Cable related companies makes it suspicious.

    • by Dahamma ( 304068 )

      Samsung is a valid player, IMO (since they bought SmartThings). The rest of them are a really motley crew desperately trying to figure out a way to get their chips or OS into as-of-yet uninvented IoT devices, or get their networks to work with said uninvented devices.

      But there is no power grab here, since no power WAS grabbed. Unless Google, Apple, or Amazon pays any attention to them it will be mostly irrelevant.

      • That is a completely ridiculous comment.
        I think that you have no concept of how standards groups and certifications work.
        Without everyone complying to the same standard AND actually testing the products against said standards, the technology will never take off.

        Take Bluetooth for example. In the early days, the BT SIG made folks test the physical layers of the device, but not the profiles. As such, the link layer was great, but using the products sucked. Then they started testing the profile stack as well a

        • What you see as a problem others may see as an opportunity, i.e. to create a hub that can translate requests between the half dozen different IoT "standards".
        • by Dahamma ( 304068 )

          So, I suppose I should take the high road and ignore your assholish tone, but oh well, not today.

          I know exactly how standards groups work. I have been on a few. How about you? And I am not as naive as you to think that when a bunch of companies who have as of yet missed the boat get together, it somehow ends up magically setting standards.

          Your comment was a bunch of hot air, with nothing new. Much like this new "Alliance".

          At the moment, there are several firms pushing their own platforms with respect to the IoT and none of these things interact with things from other companies.

          It's funny, looking at your other /. comments the theme seems to be that using ad

      • Yep, Samsung has entertained the world with their concept "smart fridge" each year for the past few years, with wireless connectivity, built-in cameras and LCD displays. We laugh now, but probably in the near future they'll be built into nearly ALL new fridges, just like they're built into nearly all new TVs these days. Just give it time, I suppose. Fortunately, keeping devices OFF the network is still easy - just don't give them the WPA key. At the very least, you probably need to make sure those stupi

        • Until your neighbour opens up a guest WiFi network without a password and then you have to be careful with what you say in front of your Samsung TV and fridge.

        • Apple's model is at least honest. You pay for the hardware, and you also know that when OS support is pulled, you will wind up paying for hardware in a few years... but that is a lot better than finding any and every way to sell your data to third parties.

          I have never understood the purpose of a "smart fridge". Does it help keep things cold better than a plain fridge? No. Does it provide a high temperature alarm? No. For the price of one of those overpriced units with fail-prone gewgaws, I can buy mys

    • by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Monday February 22, 2016 @02:47AM (#51556549)

      Errr "IoT entities"? What do any of the above manufacture that makes them IoT entities?
      Raspberry Pi : a small computer with ethernet and no features to justify it's IoT name, not even it's size.
      Arduino LLC: An out of the box microcontroller development board which comes with no software at all (kind of the important part of IoT)
      ARM Holdings: Microcontroller manufacturer who has no hardware IoT devices.

      See, not a thing. The closest any of the above come to being IoT is that they enable tinkerers to build their own IoT devices. But given IoT is all about software and interfacing options they do a heck of a crap job at that. Arduino actually has the biggest portfolio there, but that has little to do with the company and everything to do with with the shield concept many of which aren't even developed by them but rather just sold open community designs (Is Allied Express an IoT firm now too?). Now let's compare that to the list of companies involved:

      ARRIS - Company deploying IoT wireless devices and providing IoT services
      CableLabs - Company deploying IoT wireless devices
      Cisco - Company manufacturing IoT wireless gateways and multi-protocol gateways used in IoT devices.
      Electrolux - Company that has been experimenting with putting IoT crap in all their products since before it was called IoT
      GE Digital - Company that has been experimenting with putting IoT crap in all their products since before it was called IoT
      Intel - Company which may sound like ARM or Arduino above, but actually invests actual R&D money into IoT.
      Microsoft - Company with an active IoT platform, active IoT products, and active IoT related partnerships with many vendors on the market.
      Qualcomm - Company producing all-in-one IoT SOCs. These guys are far more relevant in the sector than ARM will ever be.
      Samsung - Company that has been experimenting with putting IoT crap in all their products since before it was called IoT

      Actually if I were to question some notable omissions I would be looking at:

      Philips - IoT device manufacturer which has been caught out for breaking interoperability.
      Google - Nest / Brillo platforms
      Apple - Homekit platform
      Zigbee Alliance - IoT network and retrofit product provider back before IoT was a thing.

      • Raspberry Pi : a small computer with ethernet and no features to justify it's IoT name, not even it's size.

        Pi Zero [raspberrypi.org] is small enough to do most IoT jobs, but there are actually lots of larger IoT jobs where there's lots of room for something like Pi, like major appliances.

        Arduino LLC: An out of the box microcontroller development board which comes with no software at all (kind of the important part of IoT)

        Sigh. What it comes with doesn't matter if you can trivially download what you need. The libraries for the communications hardware available provide for their function. On the other hand, much of that hardware is a microcontroller in its own right, like say ESP8266 which is commonly used simply as a WiFi adapter for Arduino. Unless you need all

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by thegarbz ( 1787294 )

          Pi Zero [raspberrypi.org] is small enough to do most IoT jobs, but there are actually lots of larger IoT jobs where there's lots of room for something like Pi, like major appliances.

          It's still just a development board, it's a computer, a non-profit product, a hobby device. Don't get me wrong I have 5 of them at home, but you won't find me sticking them in any IoT device. Companies don't like other people dictating form factor, companies don't like spending money on designs when they can simply roll it all in one, and companies definitely don't base products on boards which have incredible supply issues. They are not an IoT player in the market any more than my home built PC is.

          Sigh. What it comes with doesn't matter if you can trivially download what you need.

          So what

      • Here's the way standards have worked in the industry for decades, for longer than I've been alive:

        One company gets an advantage.
        The losing companies get together and make a standard, which (they hope) gives them a chance to catch up to the leader.

        This isn't necessarily a bad thing, it's a free-market motivation towards standardization. In this case though, it seems like a cabal of hopeless losers (at least in this industry), and it'll take more than a standard to help them catch up.
        • The only bad part is that the resulting standard is usually an overly complex monstrosity, with every part completely reinvented instead of based on existing protocols.
      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        The big players are mobile networks and infrastructure companies like Violia. They have been building IoT networks for a few years. Sigfox, LoRa and a number of others.

    • You need wireless experts in any IoT group, entities doing Wi-Sun, 802.15.4, things like that. I don't see any of the named companies doing any of that.

      • Depends on the focus of the group. I don't see anything there which screams that people will be discussing the type of IoT link. Not all IoT is wireless.

        What you do need is vendors that implement SoCs, provide gateway devices, provide analytics and database servers, software vendors, IDE vendors, and vendors for final products. You have those in that list above.

    • I'd like to address some of the ill-informed knee-jerk reactions on this topic. In the interest of full disclosure, I should also mention that I work for GE Digital (as an engineer). Regarding "actual IoT entities", some of the firmware/software that we built is test on these platforms because in many situations they are convenient for testing I myself have a collection of Raspberry Pis, Arduinos, Parallax Propellers, Basic Stamps, etc. But let's be real, here's a list of the "things" that GE builds:
      • Jet E
    • by e r ( 2847683 )

      Not even ARM Holdings, whose chips designs will be in most IoT devices.

      Didn't you notice that Intel and Microsoft are on the list? This is a move by the Old Guard to gather all their old allies so they can get into IoT and the maker movement now that IoT and "making" have been around for a couple years and have proven that there's some money to be made. They're trying to infiltrate the grassroots tech scene-- and IoT and the maker movement are the core.

      Time will tell whether this is good or bad. But considering the likes of Microsoft are involved I'm not holding my breath.

      • by Dracos ( 107777 )

        MS has made their play into IoT with Win10 IoT. The problem lies in that MS has made the requirements and capabilities so ridiculous that only MS-stack people give any shits about Win10 IoT. Anything else running on an rPi is a fully capable computer, but Win10 IoT on Pi is just bloated bootloader for a Universal (read: only runs on WIn10) app.

  • The lineup includes ARRIS, CableLabs, Cisco, Electrolux, GE Digital, Intel, Microsoft, Qualcomm, and Samsung, which will all work closely with one another to set rules and specifications to guarantee a singular advancement in the field.

    I read that as "pool patents and close the technology against the garage-shop upstarts".

    Maybe something like what happened with WiMax. Some friends and I tried to do a garage shop startup with it, but couldn't get chips or timely standards drafts because we weren't one of th

    • All of these guys are going to get absolutely spanked in IoT by folks like Expressif who are bringing out workable hardware right now at prices similar to what folks like Intel would charge for a connector, let alone a SoC. Standards are cool, but cheap wins

      • Microsoft already ships a codebase that runs on the Raspberry Pi 2, MinnowBoard Max et al, so how are they going to get spanked by a company that is yet to bring out hardware at all?

        Especially when Expressif has a website that I cannot use in Chrome!

        • Microsoft already ships a codebase that runs on the Raspberry Pi 2, MinnowBoard Max et al, so how are they going to get spanked by a company that is yet to bring out hardware at all?

          Uh, what? Expressif has been shipping hardware, and they are about to drop a replacement for the ESP8266, a whole second generation of their SoC. That's the opposite of not bringing out hardware.

          Especially when Expressif has a website that I cannot use in Chrome!

          Fuck Chrome [slashdot.org].

  • by penguinoid ( 724646 ) on Monday February 22, 2016 @02:42AM (#51556527) Homepage Journal

    Specifically, the next step in technological advancement of omnipresent surveillance/"telemetry" and of vendor lock-in and of forced upgrades and of dependency on corporate services. If that sounds good, just wait until some joker writes a virus to make your lightbulbs blink obscene messages in Morse code or pit your heater against your air conditioner.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Dick called it:

      The door refused to open. It said, âoeFive cents, please.â

      He searched his pockets. No more coins; nothing. âoeIâ(TM)ll pay you tomorrow,â he told the door. Again he tried the knob. Again it remained locked tight. âoeWhat I pay you,â he informed it, âoeis in the nature of a gratuity; I donâ(TM)t have to pay you.â

      âoeI think otherwise,â the door said. âoeLook in the purchase contract you signed when you bought this conapt.â

      In his desk drawer he found the contract; since signing it he had found it necessary to refer to the document many times. Sure enough; payment to his door for opening and shutting constituted a mandatory fee. Not a tip.

      âoeYou discover Iâ(TM)m right,â the door said. It sounded smug.

      From the drawer beside the sink Joe Chip got a stainless steel knife; with it he began systematically to unscrew the bolt assembly of his aptâ(TM)s money-gulping door.

      âoeIâ(TM)ll sue you,â the door said as the first screw fell out.

      Joe Chip said, âoeIâ(TM)ve never been sued by a door. But I guess I can live through it.â

  • Would that be a single interface specification for manufacturers to query activity information? A single specification for insuring devices only work with other devices manufactured or licensed by this alliance?

    I'd end with </sarcasm>, but anymore that'd just be immediately followed an another <sarcasm>.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    From the blurb: "...banding together to form the Open Connectivity Foundation [...] which will all work closely with one another to set rules and specifications..."

    Wat?

    Having seen the list of corps I've got a hunch about which kind of open they mean.

  • by Required Snark ( 1702878 ) on Monday February 22, 2016 @03:53AM (#51556781)
    We've seen this before.

    1. Form a group and make it an official international standard.

    2. Have licensing arm (like MPEGLA) to administer the patents from the standard.

    3. Profit.

    There is not mystery step 2 in this case. It's just like paying taxes, except instead of the government the money goes directly to the international corporations (and a few academic institutions who are in on the scam). The government and the law are just collection agents for the corporations. Combine this with treaties like the TPP and it becomes obvious that corporate interests are intent on dominating, well everything. Sovereign states become the errand boys and actual source of power is privatized.

  • Seriously? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by scdeimos ( 632778 ) on Monday February 22, 2016 @03:59AM (#51556797)

    Half those players were involved in DLNA (DHWG) and look how well that worked out. Hint: most DLNA servers need client-specific profiles to hack the data streams so that they render correctly on the client.

    As of November 2015, there are 13 promoter members and 171 contributor members. The promoter members are: Arris, AwoX, Broadcom, CableLabs, Comcast, Dolby Laboratories, Intel, LG Electronics, Panasonic, Samsung Electronics, Sony Electronics, Time Warner Cable, and Verizon.

    REF: Digital Living Network Alliance [wikipedia.org]

    • They were missing Microsoft. Microsoft's innovation as a market leader in technology and excellent track record on network security is what will make the IoT alliance a success.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    We already know we can't trust Microsoft, Samsung, or Cisco for sure, and have good reason to doubt Intel. Now we know we also cannot trust ARRIS, CableLabs, Electrolux, GE Digital, or Qualcomm either.

    If I wasn't already well entrenched in my career in IT, I would cut the cord. Alas it's too deeply integrated with my life to do that without starting over from square one. Feeling a bit trapped.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I've been shopping for a new HVAC unit for my home, and I'm shocked that there are very few I can even buy above SEER 16 that do not have mandatory internet connectivity in order to function. They even tried to sell me one that had an "zero-interface thermostat." The thermostat was in the unit and was controlled via smart-phone app - not directly between the phone and the HVAC unit, mind you. The HVAC unit phones home, and the smartphone app phones home, and so I request a temperature from the manufacturer'

    • I've been shopping for a new HVAC unit for my home, and I'm shocked that there are very few I can even buy above SEER 16 that do not have mandatory internet connectivity in order to function. They even tried to sell me one that had an "zero-interface thermostat." The thermostat was in the unit and was controlled via smart-phone app - not directly between the phone and the HVAC unit, mind you. The HVAC unit phones home, and the smartphone app phones home, and so I request a temperature from the manufacturer's server, and the manufacturer's server tells the unit what to do. Completely ridiculous and unnecessary.

      The IoT is a curse, not a blessing. It's just one more way for manufacturers to collect data about your personal habits and preferences, so they can sell that data to marketers. Of course, then there's government/NSA/etc...

      Replying to this to make sure it doesn't get buried at 0. If what you say is true, then it's really, really scary.

    • by isj ( 453011 )

      Do you happen to remember manufacturer/model of the zero-interface thermostat? Because that sounds so unbelievably stupid that there might be something you or the salesman overlooked. It could also be their attempt at lock-in.

  • The Internet of Things (IoT) is the next step toward technological advancement...

    The Internet of Things (IoT) is the next step toward technological enslavement...

    FTFY.

  • ... is there are so many to choose from!
    Does this mean SmartThings is becoming the de-facto standard?

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