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Dueling Efforts to Let Connected Devices Talk Will Make It Tough for Them to Talk

Rival efforts have emerged in the battle over how to allow various Internet of Things devices to talk to one another.

There are going to be a million of these Internet of Things devices. Wouldn’t it be great to have an open standard so they can all talk to one another?

It’s a good pitch. The problem is there are at least two competing groups making this same pitch, ensuring that — at least for now — many of these Internet of Things devices won’t in fact be able to talk to each other.

The latest effort, being announced Tuesday, is called Open Interconnect Consortium and has backing from Intel, Atmel, Samsung, Broadcom and Dell. Meanwhile, Qualcomm has been encouraging other companies to adopt AllSeen, an open source effort that grew out of its own proprietary work with AllJoyn. Last week, Microsoft announced it would support AllSeen.

For its part, Intel says it considered joining the existing effort, but found it lacking in some areas, such as support for industry standard security and intellectual property protection.

“Nothing exists that fits those requirements — our requirements and our partners’,” Intel VP of open source Imad Sousou said in a telephone interview.

Qualcomm’s Rob Chandhok said he finds those critiques puzzling, noting a recent blog post he wrote in which he reiterated that Qualcomm has no interest in monetizing the technology behind AllSeen.

“I can’t believe we can’t come to some compromise if those are the real issues,” Chandhok told Re/code.

He added that AllSeen is designed to be both open source and have open governance, and that the effort now has more than 60 companies signed on.

“In order for it to work for anybody it had to work for everybody,” Chandhok said. “We made that commitment early on.”

It should be theoretically possible for a device to support both AllSeen and the Open Interconnect Consortium approaches, but just how workable that would be is not yet clear.

The code for Open Interconnect Consortium should be available in the third quarter with products coming out next year. Intel said it is working with additional partners and expects more names to be announced later this summer.

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