Microsoft Among Founders of New IoT Standards Group

Microsoft has joined eight other companies in creating a new Internet of Things (IoT) consortium called the Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF).

Launched Friday, the OCF aims to ensure interoperability of IoT devices through standards, building on the work of the former Open Interconnect Consortium and the UPnP Forum. The nonprofit OCF is charged with bringing together key providers of silicon, software platforms and finished products focused on interoperability.

Besides Microsoft, the group's other founding backers are Intel, Qualcomm, Samsung, Cisco, ARRIS, CableLabs, Electrolux and GE Digital.

The OCF's initial emphasis is on its sponsorship of IoTivity, an open source framework designed to deliver device-to-device connectivity. A reference implementation of the OCF's IoTivity is available under the Apache 2.0 license. The initial IoTivity implementation includes documentation for Linux, Arduino and Tixen, but the OCF said the code is portable with future builds planned for additional operating systems. Those will include Windows 10, according to Terry Myerson, executive vice president of Microsoft's Windows and Devices Group.

"Windows 10 devices will natively interoperate with the new OCF standard, making it easy for Windows to discover, communicate and orchestrate multiple IoT devices in the home, in business and beyond," Myerson said in a blog post announcing Microsoft's participation in the group. "The OCF standards will also be fully compatible with the 200 million Windows 10 devices."

Microsoft will provide APIs that will let developers integrate their software with OCF-compatible devices, Myerson added.

The OCF said that while there are various targeted efforts to address connectivity and interoperability of IoT devices, it doesn't see a single effort focused on addressing all of the requirements.

"The companies involved in OCF believe that secure and reliable device discovery and connectivity is a foundational capability to enable IoT," according to a FAQ on the group's Web site. "The companies also believe that a common, interoperable approach is essential, and that both standard and open source implementation are the best route to enable scale."

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.