Industry Titans Form IoT Consortium

Michael Vizard
Mar. 27 2014, 11:00AM EDT

Looking to turn the concept of the Internet of Things (IoT) into something that more closely resembles an actual platform of developing interoperable applications, IBM, GE, Intel, Cisco and AT&T announced today that they are coming together to form an Industrial Internet Consortium (ICC). Dr. Richard Soley, executive director of the ICC and CEO of the Object Management Group (OMG) that is managing ICC, says the ICC will be an organization dedicated to identifying and resolving interoperability issues limiting the development of IoT applications.

As a founding member of ICC, Ton Steenman, vice president of the IoT Solutions Group at Intel, says the expectation is that the ICC will accelerate IoT interoperability and standardization in a way that will allow IoT applications to scale.

The other motivations of the founding members range from disrupting the fundamentals of industrial operations in the case of GE, to applying Big Data analytics in the case of IBM, to providing the connectivity and storage required to make all that interoperability possible in the case of AT&T. Mike Troiano, vice president of advanced mobility solutions at AT&T Business Solutions says IoT represents the convergence of two different worlds in the form of operations technology and traditional IT systems.

As those world converge, Ron Ambrosio, distinguished engineer and CTO for smarter energy research at IBM, adds that organizations should also expect to see the emergence of a wide variety of new business models. At the moment ICC has yet to define any specific IoT requirements. Bill Ruh, vice president of GE Global Software, says that beyond trying to accelerate the adoption of IoT standards the ICC will be creating IoT test beds across five yet-to-be-determined vertical industries. In addition, the ICC will be making recommendations related to IoT privacy and security.

The core issue that ICC is trying to address, says AT&T’s Troiano, is that 99 percent of industrial systems today are not connected to the Internet. Rather than occurring via a mishmash of IoT silos the ICC is working to create a programmable environment for industrial applications that is roughly akin to what exists today for builders of business-to-consumer and business-to-business applications.

While the IoT offers a massive amount of potential for developers, it’s clear that much work still needs to be done before IoT becomes a tangible opportunity for most developers. But given the collective weight of the organizations that are now invested in IoT it’s only a matter of time before the opportunity becomes a very real reality.

Michael Vizard

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