IoT's interoperability challenge

Overcoming the interoperability challenges of IoT is an important step in reaching its widescale adoption and commercialization potential.

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IoT promises to improve daily life in a number of ways. Interconnectivity between devices enables increased productivity at home or within industrial settings. This interconnectivity comes at a price, as the popularity increases and the number of devices and networks expands, the lack of interoperability between them becomes an issue.

The primary problem is that there are too many players in the game. Technology companies are developing solutions independently of each other, utilizing different platforms and frameworks and this results in many different devices that cannot integrate with one another.

The company Chirp has proposed a solution to this differentiation concern, by proposing interconnectivity through the universal language of sound. Open source frameworks and machine-to-machine (M2M) service layers are also attempting to solve the challenges facing IoT interoperability. Only once these interoperability challenges are solved, will we see the true potential of IoT revealed.

Continuingcompetitionmeans fragmentation?

The leaders in the technology game have created an environment that discourages interoperability in a bid to maintain the competitive edge. While this has advantages for the organizations involved, it means that disparate development is bound to continue. The result is development in support of singular, proprietary operating systems with little integration and third party application capabilities.

Instead of creating vertical stacks of integrated products, developers should be looking to open infrastructure horizontally to promote an interoperable framework that any hardware or software can connect to with little fuss.

Data-over-sound technology is bridging the gap

Data-over-sound technology encodes data into various pitches and tones to create a sonic barcode, which can then be transmitted and decoded by a multitude of devices. Any device with a speaker, microphone, and a little processing proficiency is compatible with Chirp technology.

Chirp has leveled the playing field with respect to interoperability between devices, architectures, and platforms by allowing a common thread of communication between the various technologies. Available as a suite of interoperable software development kits (SDKs), Chip's solution is groundbreaking on many levels.

Using sound to convey the advantages of IoT in a simple, easily scalable and relatively cost-effective way, this platform aims specifically to tackle the problem of interoperability in the IoT ecosystem.

As opposed to competing with existing networking solutions, Chirp overlays on existing technology and simplifies the pairing process. It can also create links between devices and a network, enabling legacy technology with the audio capability to join the IoT framework. The company seems to have thought of everything, as even devices without audio capacities, such as GPS tracking systems, can be connected with a simple audio-capable companion device.

Open source frameworks to solve interoperability

Companies are working towards cloud platforms that provide an open source framework upon which to build IoT solutions. This type of universal framework enables interoperability across devices, applications, and operating systems by providing a platform for consumers to rapidly create IoT applications instead of building integration from the ground up, essentially creating an adaptable, plug-and-play scenario for IoT development.

This will accelerate the pace of IoT progress and provide a modicum of flexibility and adaptability to the system, inherently allowing easier interoperable features arising from the same source framework.

Edge X Foundry has already taken steps to break open this field of computer science, with the launch of its interoperability framework. The aim is to provide a stable, consistent and safe platform for both vendors and consumers to integrate without redesigning connectivity.

Introducing a common IoT services layer

By implementing a common, centralized services layer, developers can succeed in overcoming the interoperability struggle by providing a framework to support independent applications and services. It comprises a common M2M and IoT middleware layer, dubbed the Common Services Layer, which is globally compatible and allows interworking for devices.

This allows multiple IoT devices and sensors to be shared across different applications, essentially negating the proprietary inter-compatibility difficulties.

Overcoming the interoperability challenges of IoT is an important step in reaching its widescale adoption and commercialization potential. By streamlining the plentiful connections available and allowing interconnection and standardization, it opens the world of IoT to beyond current expectations.

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