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IoT Standard Gets Security, Compatability Updates; New Products Promised in 2019

Mainstream appliance manufacturers Electrolux, Haier, LG Electronics and Samsung Electronics will introduce smart-home products based on an emerging ‘internet-of-things’ (IoT) standard from the Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF) next year.

The group will offer a first wave of interoperable OCF-certified solutions in 2019. The OCF said the standard will gain momentum through 2020, as a second wave of OCF-based products are released by other member brands.

Meanwhile, the OCF has added new security and interoperability features to its OCF specification, which will be brought to bear in parallel markets too.

David McCall, chair of the OCF’s strategy work group, and a senior strategic planner at Intel, said: “OCF is designed to span multiple vertical markets. We have efforts in non smart home areas – in automotive, healthcare, industrial. The announcements today, are focused on smart home appliances, and we will see adoption in that vertical before these others. But the core technology is the same.

McCall said the endorsement of leading appliance makers marks a new phase of adoption for the OCF specification. “We are going from a period of early excitement, through industry involvement and knuckling down, to finally getting devices deployed,” he explained.

There is a trick with timing – there’s no point releasing a single product. That’s really what we’re announcing, today – that we have some of largest appliance manufacturers in the world getting together not just to declare their interest in the specification and code, but to put it into their products.

“In many respects, these companies compete with each other, so it is a testament to their efforts. It has not been straightforward. But the importance is clear in the statement we’ve made, and the sheer size of the companies involved.”

In addition, the OCF has added a public key infrastructure (PKI) security model and certain cloud management capabilities to its IoTivity reference code, hosted by the Linux Foundation. The PKI equips manufacturers with the ability to establish unique, immutable trust between OCF-based devices.

“One of the reasons these manufacturers have been so supportive is not just because of the interoperability, but because of the security of it, too. These aspects are very important. When consumers buy from smaller companies, they want to know what they’re getting – that the security access controls are correct. A PKI gives you a level of procedural trust,” said McCall.

The new cloud capabilities enable users to register and among devices from multiple vendors, and remotely monitor and control them using a single mobile application.

IDC predicts 549.5 million smart-hone devices will be shipped this year. Marta Munoz, research director at IDC, said a unified approach towards interoperability and secure access is crucial. “It should help reassure organisations in their current and future IoT plans of these vendors’ intentions to address their key concerns,” said Munoz.

Matthew Perry, chairman at the OCF, said: “The support we have seen underscores the importance of OCF’s vision for broad interoperability in a quickly expanding ecosystem of IoT services, devices and solutions. We’re excited to see these companies working to realise the full potential of IoT, delivering an IoT standard that the industry has long been asking for.”

Brian Scriber, principal security architect at CableLabs and chair of the OCF’s security working group, said: “OCF is actively making strides to bring a higher level of security to consumer electronics and establish a fortified connected ecosystem for end users and businesses alike.” – Enterprise Iot Insights

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