AllSeen Alliance Accelerates 'Internet of Everything'

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Two dozen connectivity and home networking heavyweights – including Cisco and Qualcomm – plus consumer electronics firm such as LG, Panasonic and Sharp have joined the new AllSeen Alliance, which will seek to coordinate features on the “Internet of Everything.”  

The Alliance, unveiled this week, is managed by the Linux Foundation, and calls itself the “broadest cross-industry consortium to date” for home interconnectivity.  It cites its mission as assuring that “devices, objects and systems can be connected in simple, transparent ways to enable seamless sharing …and intelligent operations across all of them.”

The new Linux-oriented open source interconnectivity scheme  – while not yet universally adopted by electronics makers – opens another potential avenue for collaboration or (as was the case with doomed CableCard venture) confrontation between cable and home electronics industries.

No cable companies are yet involved directly in the AllSeen Alliance, although many of the cable industry’s in-home connectivity visions match the group’s agenda. Other inaugural members of the Alliance include Sears Brand Management (a major retailer and installer of home devices), Haier, D-Link, HTC and Harman.

In particular, Qualcomm’s role in the consortium appears dominant, as evident by the group’s name, which echoes Qualcomm’s AllJoyn open source project.  Indeed, the AllSeen Alliance’s initial framework is based on AllJoyn, which can communicate over various transport layers, such as Wi-Fi, power line or Ethernet, regardless of manufacturer or operating system. 

The Alliance is focused on the Internet of Everything (IoE), the au courant term for interactive connectivity. Research firm IDC foresees a global $8.9 trillion IoE market by the end of the decade, when more than 212 billion devices worldwide will hook into the IoE, which is sometimes called the “Internet of Things” (IoT).  At next month’s CES, Cisco will host an IoE pavilion and Qualcomm is expected to show off its AllJoyn capabilities.

LG says all of its 2014 Smart TV models will include preloaded AllJoyn software, and several other electronics makers are expected to announce similar commitments at CES.

AllSeen’s vision for allowing devices to talk to each other is the latest in a long line of tech integration schemes, dating back to the “CEBus” project coordinated by the Consumer Electronics Association in the 1980s.