IoT Industry Standard Bodies vs Consortia - Symbiotic or Disobliging Partners?*
By Dennis Ward, IoT Analyst/Solutions Specialist, DWE
This past summer, IEEE, the world's largest professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for humanity, announced the Industrial Internet Consortium® and the IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA) are collaborating toward development of a comprehensive architecture for an interoperable Internet of Things (IoT) around the world.
This announcement was significant given the fragmented state of the IoT industry. Though presently both camps have goals of openness, availability and adoption of technology and business initiatives, historically standards bodies and consortia have had their share of differences. As such, can they actually work together? First, let’s review why standard bodies and consortia exist and then examine how these two camps can work together as a bipartisan unit in the context of IoT.
Industry Standards Bodies
Industry standards are essential for the cooperation and stability of the business. For example, within the U.S., the legal system defines industrial standards as “…a set of criteria within an industry relating to the standard functioning and carrying out of operations in their respective fields of production.” In other words, it is the generally accepted requirements followed by the members of an industry. It provides an orderly and systematic formulation, adoption, or application of standards used in a particular industry or sector of the economy. Thus it is a crucial tool for developing and meeting goals and serves as a quality check for an industry. Take for example the automotive industry. Tire sizes and durability must fall within standardized ranges. If this tolerance is not followed, fatalities can occur.
Though standards are necessary, regulatory and compliance issues come into play that slow up the adoption process. So how do businesses manage despite not having firm standards? Here is where consortia can help.
Wikipedia defines consortium as “…an association of two or more individuals, companies or organizations with the objective of participating in a common activity or pooling their resources for achieving a common goal. Consortia come together to monetize on the opportunity.” The key point here is that business consortia are formed to move the industry along in an organized manner to make money! Consortia are not constrained by standard bodies, so they tend to be less bureaucratic. Business decisions and market directions are made faster and are more decisive. As a result, mutual goals are reached quicker.
Though the motivations of these two groups tend to be different, how can they possibly work together? As in the Wild West, there were pioneers and settlers. The pioneers would go out ahead of the settlers to survey the landscape and bring back any potential problems/issues. As such, the settlers would maneuver their collective group more efficiently and safely to reach their mutual destination. Likewise, consortia act as pioneers to survey the business and technical landscapes. They bring back lessons learned to the standards bodies to incorporate into their more formalized processes to ultimately reach their mutual industry destination in a consistent manner. So is one group better than the other? No, they both have their benefits. Therefore, the Industrial Internet Consortium and the IEEE P2413™ Architectural Framework for the Internet of Things (IoT) Working Group are sharing their stakeholders’ expertise on requirements for the industrial IoT and gaps in interoperability standards under terms of a liaison agreement. So in working together symbiotically, the results can be wonderful.
Standards Bodies interested in IoT:
Consortia interested in IoT:
Figure 1: Standard Bodies and Consortia relevant to IoT
Note to editors:Industrial Internet Consortium is a registered trademark of OMG. For a listing of all OMG trademarks, visit https://www.omg.org/legal/tm_list.htm. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
*The views expressed in this blog represent those of Dennis Ward.