New Open Connectivity Foundation combines Open Interconnect Consortium and AllSeen Alliance

Update 21 February 2016 — I received email from Sophie Sleck of Blanc & Otis:

OCF is not unifying OIC and AllSeen, this is not a merger of two groups. The technology leaders who have been specifying software protocols for the Internet of Things announced they are now working together to form a new entity. OCF is the successor to OIC; it’s initiatives are about solidifying and trying to reduce fragmentation in the industry.

Also, Meredith Solberg of the Linux Foundation wrote to correct me:

I represent AllSeen Alliance and just wanted to reach out in response to your article with a correction that there has been no merger with AllSeen Alliance. AllSeen is not combining with OIC to form OCF and we remain a separate organization. We do, however, have some overlap with members in common. If you could please issue a correction and include a correction note to your Twitter followers, we’d greatly appreciate it! Want to remain transparent and share accurate info.

So, OCF is the successor to OIC, and we will have to wait for the cooperation between OCF and AllSeen to lead to yet another organization/consortium/foundation/whozis.

A new milestone in the maturation of the Internet of Things has been reached: two contending organizations — the Open Interconnect Consortium (backed by Intel and others), and the AllSeen Alliance (back by Qualcomm and others) are merging to form the Open Connectivity Foundation. (See correction above.)
This is a big step, and one that may help break the logjam in the market. After all, consumers are justifiably concerned about making a bet in home automation — for example — if they are unsure about how various devices may or may not interoperate.
Aaron Tilley points out that IoT has seemed to be, so far, all hat and no cattle:

In some ways, the Internet of Things still feels like empty tech jargon. It’s hard to lump all these different, disparate things together and talk about them in a meaningful way. Maybe once all these things really begin talking to each other, the term will be more appropriate. But for now, there is still a mess in the number of standards out there in the Internet of Things. People have frequently compared it to the VHS-Betamax videotape format war of the 1980s.

The VHS-Betamax format war was not solved by standardization, it was the VHS vendors making the devil’s bargain with porn companies. The OCF may be more like the creation of the SQL standard, where a number of slightly different implementations of relational database technology decided to standardize on the intersection of the various products, and that led to corporations to invest when before they had been stalling.
The consortium includes — beside Intel and Qualcomm — ARRIS, CableLabs, Cisco, Electrolux, GE Digital, Samsung, and Microsoft.
Terry Myerson, Executive Vice President, Windows and Devices Group at Microsoft announced the company’s participation in the creation of the OCF, and spelling out Microsoft’s plans:

We have helped lead the formation of the OCF because we believe deeply in its vision and the potential an open standard can deliver. Despite the opportunity and promise of IoT to connect devices in the home or in businesses, competition between various open standards and closed company protocols have slowed adoption and innovation. […]
Windows 10 devices will natively interoperate with the new OCF standard, making it easy for Windows to discover, communicate, and orchestrate multiple IoT devices in the home, in business, and beyond. The OCF standards will also be fully compatible with the 200 million Windows 10 devices that are “designed for AllSeen” today.
We are designing Windows 10 to be the ideal OS platform for Things, and the Azure IoT platform to be the best cloud companion for Things, and for both of them to interoperate with all Things.

Microsoft was late to the party on mobile, but Nadella’s leadership seems to be all about getting in early on other emerging technologies, like IoT, machine learning, and modern productivity.
Noticeably absent are the other Internet giants: Apple, Amazon, and Google. When will they get on board?

GE tech guru high-fives the public cloud

Despite the success of Amazon Web Services, and the resources Microsoft and Google have poured into Azure and Google Cloud Platform respectively to compete with AWS, public cloud still has a bit of a perception problem. Many companies still view the use of shared, multi-tenant architectures askance — something not quite trusted for mission critical workloads.

That’s why it’s a fairly big deal when the CIO of [company]General Electric[/company], staple of the Fortune 10, says it’s “all-in” for public cloud. [company]GE[/company], after all is pretty much the reference account to end all reference accounts with its market cap north of $230 billion, and which offers everything from financial services to household appliances to cat scanners and jet engines.

In a Q&A in October, GE’s Chris Drumgoole told InfoWorld that “north of 90 percent” of all the applications deployed by the company last year were in a public cloud environment. Further, he said:

” We have a model where we’re operating outside of our four walls in someone else’s environment, but we’ve been able to ensure that GE data — compute, memory, and storage — remain single-tenant, even though we may be in a multitenanted data center.”

So there, public cloud haters. It was not all that clear how many public cloud vendors GE  uses but Drumgoole mentioned AWS and [company]Microsoft[/company] Azure in passing.

“…we really view ourselves to be a service provider to our businesses, so our businesses can buy from us or they can buy from others. The best way to think about it is if you’re my oil and gas division you can come to me, as corporate IT, and buy Amazon in order deploy your applications or you can go to [company]Amazon[/company] directly or you can go to Azure directly.”

But the vendor that got the biggest shout out was [company]Cloudability[/company], which monitors multiple clouds for customers and helps with cost tracking and assessment.

We’re big fans of a tool called Cloudability, which provides actual visibility into the data. If I want to see what something costs, I log into my Cloudability instance.

OpenStack installs 2015 regime

In other cloud news last week, on Friday the OpenStack Foundation announced 2015 board members elected from a full roster of candidates. Eight new individual directors — chosen from a list of 27 candidates — are Tim Bell of CERN; Russell Bryant of [company]Red Hat[/company]; Alex Freedland of [company]Mirantis[/company]; Rob Hirschfeld of RackN; Vishvananda Ishaya of [company]Nebula[/company]; Kavit Munshi of [company]Aptira[/company], Egle Sigler of [company]Rackspace[/company] ; and Monty Taylor of [company]HP[/company].

Members elected from the 8 companies at the foundations highest Platinum Member tier are: Alan Clark of [company]SUSE[/company]; Eileen Evans of HP; Toby Ford of AT&T; Van Lindberg of Rackspace; Mark McLoughlin of Red Hat; Todd Moore of [company]IBM[/company]; Imad Sousou of [company]Intel[/company] and John Zannos of [company]Canonical[/company]. Newly elected directors from the 17 Gold Member companies are Simon Anderson of [company]Dreamhost[/company]; Robert Esker of NetApp; Tristan Goode of Aptira; Steven Hallett of [company]Symantec[/company]; Chris Kemp of [company]Nebula[/company]; Boris Renski of Mirantis; Sean Roberts of [company]EMC[/company] and Lew Tucker of [company]Cisco[/company].

At a glance what is notable here is that Symantec, which just joined the foundation a month ago, is represented at the Gold level but Piston and [company]Yahoo[/company] are nowhere to be seen. Also, Randy Bias, co-founder of Cloudscaling is no longer on the board, although EMC — which bought Cloudscaling last year is represented by Sean Roberts.

One of three bylaws also approved by foundatio membership is a change to OpenStack trademark policy around the adoption of DefCore procedures, although from the verbiage it’s not clear to me what this means exactly, so stay tuned on that. DefCore is, for lack of a better word, a set of rules that defines what OpenStack is, what features it should include and certifications against which OpenSack implementations are judged. The goal is to ensure a degree of interoperability between different vendors’ OpenStack implementations — so one vendor cannot innovate changes that are incompatible with the OpenStack standard and still call it OpenStack.

Can policy be built into applications?

Wouldn’t it be nice if, when you enter your privacy settings on Facebook or other applications, you could be sure those settings will be enforced through the life of that product. So, when you don’t want your face tagged in photos, it cannot be tagged even by someone else.

That’s the type of problem MIT Ph.D candidate Jean Yang is working on. As things stand now, it’s very hard for developers to write privacy rules right into their code. Yang’s Jeeves project aims to make that less of a hairball going forward.Check out our chat with her about halfway through this week’s podcast. Oh, and she also weighs in on the Reddit AMA she and two other female Ph.D candidates hosted last month.

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MIT Ph.D. candidate Jean Yang.

MIT Ph.D. candidate Jean Yang.

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Note: This story was updated at 10:02 a.m. PST to reflect that the Chris Drumgoole interview actually happened in October, not last week. Credit the reporter’s brain cramp for the mistake. His point still stands, but it’s not as fresh as I thought.

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