Internet of Things – Standards are Important but Nearly Impossible

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The driving forces behind IoT are not yet strong enough

One thing is without doubt when it comes to creating standards around IOT: it will be a good thing. However it will be a very long journey to achieving any agreement or rollout standards, and a major challenge to all involved.

This is because two major things need to happen – major industry leaders need to consolidate into one consortium with a clear agreed vision. It’s not just the companies you would normally associate with IoT; it’s any company manufacturing equipment that can be connected – for example white goods and car manufacturers. This consolidation alone will take years. Secondly, there needs to be a tipping point at which user experience will undoubtedly benefit from standards. There will remain a period in which the user experience will not be affected, and until that consumer pressure becomes an influence, many industry players will not prioritise a consortium.

There is evidence to suggest that the IT industry is for the first time ever converging with the white goods industry. This however could lead to further complexity in agreeing standards; we may not see an agreed single standard for a while.

The question is what do these standards focus on? In the short term, the main concerns will regard app and device interoperability, while also ensuring consumer confidence. Consumers simply do not want to buy the devices that become the modern equivalents of HD-DVD, Minidisc and Betamax. While competing standards exist and battle in the marketplace for supremacy, adoption will always be held back to some degree. Should the consumer really have to fill their smartphone with a multitude of apps to manage the non-interoperable smart home devices in their home? Longer term, it will require a more wholehearted dedication to standards across the industry.

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