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Microsoft, Samsung and Intel form smart home alliance

Big tech hopes to make your smart bulbs finally talk to your connected crock pot.
Roberto Baldwin, @strngwys
February 19, 2016
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The connected home has a huge problem. Very little few of the devices actually talk to one another. Thanks to competing communication protocols and companies creating proprietary ecosystems that only let their products talk to one another, users are forced to open multiple apps to have the home of the future. So some big names in tech are hoping to solve the fragmentation issue by forming an IoT alliance called the Open Connectivity Foundation. It's like the Super Friends but for smart bulbs.

Made up of Microsoft, Intel, Samsung, Qualcomm, Cisco, GE Digital and others, the foundation aims to create open-source protocols any manufacturer could implement into their products. The alliance hopes to achieve this regardless of a device's chipset or operating system. It also wants to make sure that anyone that wants to create an IoT device can use its protocols to connect to devices from larger companies. It's a lofty goal that's missing some key players already in the space including Apple, Google, Philips and WeMo.

Apple's HomeKit does the same thing, but requires manufacturers to use select secure chipsets. And of course, it only works on iOS devices. Google's Brillo and communication protocol Weave (done in partnership with Intel and Qualcomm) hasn't actually gotten off the ground yet and is still inviting developers to try it out.

If OCF can do what Apple does but without the need to own an iPhone, it might be exactly what the connected home needs. A way to truly connect.

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