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Intel, Broadcom, Samsung, Dell, Atmel and others have joined forces to launch the Open Interconnect Consortium (OIC), an organization that will set standards for connecting billions of household gadgets and appliances. OIC intends to initially target the smart home and office.

The Internet of Things (IoT), aka Machine to Machine (M2M) or the Internet of Everything (IoE) adds internet connectivity to the billions of devices that are now ubiquitous in our environment. Some M2M applications will deliver and process information in real time, or near-real-time, while other nodes will have to be extremely low-power or self-powered.

The intention of the OIC is to create specifications for interoperability. It will encapsulate various wireless standards to enable secure device discovery and connectivity across different devices.

“Our goal in founding this new consortium is to solve the challenge of interoperable connectivity for the Internet of Things without tying the ecosystem to one company’s solution,” said Intel corporate vice president and general manager of Software and Services Group Doug Fisher.

But the OIC is not the only consortium to focus on the Internet of Things, notes Forbes.

Microsoft, Haier, LG Electronics, Panasonic, Qualcomm, Sharp, and others announced the AllSeen Alliance in December, which now has a total of 51 members. The organizations involved in AllSeen will work off of Qualcomm’s AllJoyn open source project initially.

OIC said it will share specifications and code with other groups to establish a common Internet of Things interface. The OIC added that its platform will emphasize security and authentication.

Apple and Google, two of the biggest players in the Internet of Things market, may go their own way.

This year, Google acquired smart thermostat company Nest for $3.2 billion and WiFi-enabled camera company Dropcam for $555 million. Last week, Google announced it partnered with Mercedes-Benz, Whirlpool and light bulb maker LIFX to integrate their products with Google’s Nest. The Nest thermostat will turn your heat up and LIFX will turn your lights on when your Jawbone wristband detects that you’re awake.

Last month at WWDC, Apple announced a new smart home framework called HomeKit, which can be used for controlling connected devices inside of a user’s home. Apple’s connected car infotainment system is called CarPlay.

Today, Ubiquiti Networks is launching electrical outlets with remote switching (over Wi-Fi) and energy monitoring. The in-wall design allows users to replace existing wall outlets and light switches/dimmers. Unlike traditional switches, the light switches come with touch panels which can be controlled via Wi-Fi for energy monitoring.

IDC expects the installed base of the Internet of Things will be approximately 212 billion “things” globally by 2020. This is expected to include 30.1 billion installed “connected (autonomous) things” in 2020.

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