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This week's IoT news
 
 
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The AllSeen Alliance disbands and now what do we use?
 
 
by Stacey Higginbotham
 
This isn't a surprise. The AllSeen Alliance, an organization created by Qualcomm in 2013 to promote a device discovery and communications standard for the internet of things, is being disbanded. Sources tell me that the organization voted to disband last week. TheAllSeen Alliance acted as the steward of AllJoyn.

The end of the AllSeen Alliance comes after most of the engineers working on the AllJoyn protocol at Qualcomm went to Intel.
 
 
 
LG was an early supporter of AllJoyn. Here is a sensor it built that uses AllJoyn and makes appliances smarter. 
 
 
Those engineers started working on Iotivity, a similar standard with the same goals. Intel, Samsung and others banded together to create that rival Iotivity protocol in 2014. This year, the two groups effectively merged calling itself Open Connectivity Foundation. The AllSeen Alliance still existed, but its death felt inevitable. Industry support had swayed.

AllSeen's demise wouldn't be as big of an issue if Intel's rival Iotivity standard was already in products, or seemed ready for prime time. Instead, version 1.1.1 is available and The Open Connectivity Foundation is still trying to launch certification labs to ensure things work together. Which means that for now, there is still no standard for billions of connected devices to communicate.

While this may feel like an esoteric standards fight between Intel and Qualcomm, it is terrible for device makers and consumers. One of the biggest challenges with consumer adoption of the internet of things is a lack of standards. And this basically looks like corporate politics have shut down a three-year effort to bring a good device discovery protocol to the world. 

I know several developers who had used AllJoyn. The good(ish) news is that the latest release of AllJoyn should still come out, but it's unclear why someone would develop using it if there isn't an organizational effort to support it. Meanwhile, Google is moving ahead with its Weave protocol that will compete with Iotivity. 

Google appears to be pushing Weave and the underlying Brillo operating system among startups. I spoke with several companies that are looking at Weave for their devices, but I received questioning looks when I asked about Iotivity. Most were not aware that it was available.

So it seems that our wait for smart home standards is going to continue. Goodbye, AllSeen.
 
 
 
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Google finally told us what to expect with its Google Home product, a new mesh router configuration and an updated Chromecast this week at its hardware event. Kevin and I break down what we know about Google Home, how it compares to other devices on the market and also what we won’t know until we get the Home in our hot little hands. I expect mine on Nov. 8-10, so stay tuned. In more serious news, the use of IoT devices as a tool in DDoS attacks has everyone freaked out. We discuss why IoT devices are vulnerable and share a new checklist from the Online Trust Alliance on what you can do to help.
 
 
 
The Google Home sells for $129 and you can choose which color base makes the most sense for your decor.
 
 

After that we talk to Danny Herztberg, a Realtor in Miami Beach who told me what devices make for a good investment and how his job has changed with the advent of smart home technology. He also pleads with device makers to make these things easier for consumers to use and understand.

 
 
 
 
HPE Helion (Sponsored)
 
 

From the edge of your network to the core of your datacenter, HPE can help you connect and secure your digital world. Realize the potential of the internet-of-things with HPE, the IT for IoT.
 
 
 
Picture this
 
 
Military-grade wearables!
 
This jacket/baby carrier may not be the height of fashion, but the Broadsword Spine tech created by defense giant BAE is a pretty innovative wearable. The prototype uses conductive fabrics instead of wires and cables, which can get snagged on the battlefield and weigh soldiers down.  Electronic devices can be plugged straight into a vest, jacket or belt for power and USB 2.0 connectivity.  And yes, they have it in black.
 
 
 
BAE's Broadsword Spine typically has eight connection ports arranged across a garment, capable of providing 200 watts of power and communicating over USB. That's pretty impressive.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
News of the week
 
 
Parking lots predict the future: I like any article that can clearly take a slice of life and use it to explain how technology disrupts our lives. This article takes the token and card payment options from subways and parking lots and shows how always-on connectivity and new radios change how we pay for transportation.  (Leor Grebler)

Silicon Labs buys a real-time OS company: Silicon Labs has acquired Micrium, maker of a real time operation system for embedded devices. Silicon Labs, which makes radios, has bet big on IoT, and this deal gives it more credibility for making a complete stack of technologies for devices. The world of embedded RTOSes is highly fragmented, so I'm curious if there is a strategy here around reducing that number, much like what ARM is doing with its mbedOS. (Silicon Labs)

Comcast buys in LoRa
: Comcast has created an industrial internet trial platform called MachineQ, and as part of that, it invested in Semtech, a company that makes chips for LoRa low power wide area networks. Comcast says it plans to build a trial LoRa network, with the goal of completing commercial deployments within the next 18 to 30 months if that network is successful.  (Comcast)

Sigfox raising a ton of money: LoRa wasn't the only low power WAN to get a boost. It appears that Sigfox is trying to raise between $100 million and $200 million at a valuation of $600 million. If that's the case, then the timing likely means Comcast saw this deal and chose LoRa instead. (TechCrunch)

Thington revamps its platform: Those with an iOS device should test out the update to the Thington software. The software is designed as a conversational interface to let homeowners interact with connected devices such as Hue lights, Wemo switches and others.  I've seen it and talked to the founders, and I like where they are going. (Thington)

Samsung acquires Viv: Samsung has acquired the AI startup built by the creators of Siri for an undisclosed sum. I profiled Viv in May because I think its concept of software that builds itself is necessary for trying to handle all the communications between millions of IoT devices and their APIs. Samsung has said it's investing $1.2 billion in IoT, and the emphasis on AI is smart. (TechCrunch)

Walmart's CIO is fascinated by IoT: Karenann Terrell, the CIO of Walmart, spoke with the Wall Street Journal about the retailer's transition to serving grocery customers online as well as her hopes for the internet of things. Terrel didn't say much but expressed faith that real-time inventory data was coming (Walmart was an early adopter of RFID) and that it would change the game. (WSJ)

OpenSource software to build a botnet: The IoT-derived Mirai software that launched a 600 Gbps-to-700Gbsp attack against security researcher Brian Krebs is now open source. The attack itself has been used to illustrate how poorly secured connected devices are. They represent a threat because users don't pay much attention to them, so an infected device can participate in botnets for years without the owner ever noticing. Because these devices are limited mostly by the amount of bandwidth a home has, it only takes one infected product to contribute to an attack. As these products proliferate, there's a greater chance one will let the hackers in. (Sophos)

To turn on the heat pay 100 Bitcoins: Not only are IoT devices great botnet participants, they also are great targets for ransomware. Because they control things in the real world, get ready to get messages from your devices asking for a fee before you can park your car or wash your clothes. That's the fear, anyway. (TechCrunch)

More Stacey: If you aren't sick of me yet, read what I wrote in PCMag about securing your smart home and yet another question about locks. (PCMag)
 
 
 
 
 
Stacey Higginbotham's weekly Internet of
Things news update and analysis.