The Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF), a leading Internet of Things (IoT) standards body, on Jan. 2 announced that products from BSC Computer GmbH, COMMAX, Haier, LG Electronics, Resideo, Samsung Electronics and SURE Universal will be showcased in completely interoperable smart home demonstrations at the OCF IoT Breakthrough press event at the Barrymore Restaurant in Las Vegas on January 6, 2020, from 3–6 p.m. PST. As showcased during CES 2020, these devices will complete OCF 2.1 certification in 2020, ensuring robust and secure connectivity between devices. Many of these and other OCF member companies will be commercially launching products based on the OCF specification in 2020.
Research cited by OCF shows that revenue from the smart home market is expected to show an annual growth rate of 17.6 percent, resulting in a global market volume of more than $141 billion by 2023. As the smart home market continues to rapidly grow, secure interoperability will be key in making the IoT successful. The OCF Certification Program helps manufacturers create products that “just work” with other OCF Certified IoT devices regardless of their form factors, operating systems, service providers or transports. OCF’s 2.1 specification, a recognized ISO standards specification, ensures this interoperability is built into all OCF Certified devices. The OCF supports standardized procedures for bridging to other IoT ecosystems and provide detailed implementations for Bluetooth, EnOcean, Zigbee and Z-wave protocols.
Further, this month, the OCF is introducing the OCF Universal Cloud Interface (UCI), the industry’s first solution to unify the IoT ecosystem through cloud-to-cloud connectivity based on OCF’s work with Open Standards. The OCF UCI is a programming interface that can be used to standardize connectivity between different manufacturers’ cloud servers, and between devices and the cloud. This cloud application programming interface (API) helps the IoT industry to streamline partnerships and avoid implementing and maintaining numerous proprietary programming interfaces at once.
Developing and maintaining proprietary APIs when companies collaborate requires visibility and/or control between devices and services on both companies’ clouds, notes OCF. This is expensive in both time and money. As the number of IoT devices expands and the need for seamless operation between different manufacturers’ systems grows, the proprietary approach does not scale and thus slows the growth of the ecosystem. The OCF UCI is an industry-standard cloud API, solves this issue and can be used for communications with a plethora of collaborating companies.
“Different configurations of the same OCF UCI can simplify collaboration between device manufacturers who wish to produce IoT devices but do not have the ability to develop and support their own cloud applications,” said John Park, executive director, Open Connectivity Foundation. “This configuration can also help companies that have cloud applications and wish to expand the number of devices that can connect to them. Specifically, the manufacturers can produce a single device that connects to any cloud application provided both implement the OCF UCI API. This enables a multitude of manufacturers to produce secure, interoperable IoT devices and delivers welcome flexibility to end users.”
The OCF UCI is based on the OCF’s proximity framework that enables communication between IoT devices and applications over a local network. It uses the same data models and core technology. As with OCF proximity communications, an open source implementation is available.
“In the near future, smart homes and buildings will have typically over 200 different products improving comfort, security and energy usage. Having all of these powered by mains cables or batteries which need to be regularly changed or re-charged is simply not practical,” said Jörg Hofmann, CEO, BSC Computer GmbH. “By introducing the EnOcean energy harvesting wireless standard into the OCF world, BSC Computer has enabled simple addition of multiple ‘peel and stick’ maintenance-free sensors and switches into their smart buildings via the BSC smart secure gateway, a major expansion and improvement of the excellent interoperable OCF eco-system.”
"The collaboration that occurs within OCF is a meaningful process that contributes to the proliferation of the global smart home industry and dramatically improves end user experience," said Woo Seok Byun, CEO, COMMAX. “COMMAX has been providing smart door entry, home automation, and home security-related products in Korea and worldwide, and it is a market leader in the development and launch of high-tech applications in the smart home industry. COMMAX has plans to focus on realizing product supply through continuous investment and technology development for service connection through OCF in the future.”
“OCF brings the global IoT industry a fully interoperable and standardized solution with high-level security,” said Guohuo Chen, general manager, Haier Uplus Intelligent Technology. “Leveraging OCF bridging and the Universal Cloud Interface, Haier U+ will offer our customers the best user experience as always.”
“The world has become too complex and diverse for any one company to be able to meet all different demands of customers,” said I.P. Park, president and CTO of LG Electronics. “LG is driving digital transformation in manufacturing and integrating AI into a whole portfolio of products to eventually provide our customers with benefits of a seamless and intelligent connected experience. We will leverage standardized OCF Universal Cloud Interface to facilitate open collaboration across industries and to realize the full potential of AI for a truly better life.”
“The smart home today is anything but smart, there are too many apps and competing communication protocols to make it happen and homeowners are increasingly frustrated,” said Scott Harkins, vice president and general manager, Connected Home, Resideo. “The OCF Universal Cloud Interface standard will greatly simplify and reduce the work associated with IoT Cloud to Cloud communications. By implementing this as an industry standard, we’ll reduce the need for one-off, cloud to cloud connections, streamlining our development work and helping simplify the smart home experience for consumers.”
“As a founding member of the OCF, over several years we have contributed much to deliver a standardized IoT solution to the market,” said Hyogun Lee, head of R&D, Visual Display Business, Samsung Electronics. “We anticipate that the OCF Universal Cloud Interface can resolve the current IoT market fragmentation and thus build the unified IoT ecosystem."
“It has been a great experience and opportunity for SURE to be a part of the OCF community for the last four years,” said Viktor Ariel, CEO, SURE Universal and chair, Business Steering Committee, OCF. “During that time, SURE developed a complete turnkey IoT platform based on the OCF standard, including Cloud-to-Cloud API, set-top box gateway, IoT communications module, and mobile universal remote app. SURE IoT client, STB, and module have been certified by OCF, and the complete SURE IoT platform was successfully tested for interoperability with the leading OCF partners. Currently, it is in the process of evaluation by carrier operators and appliance vendors worldwide. The successful OCF implementation signifies the new beginning of the user-friendly, secure, and interoperable IoT, which is available for IoT products worldwide.”
The Open Connectivity Foundation is dedicated to enabling an interoperable, scalable, reliable and secure Internet of Things for consumers, businesses and industries. OCF delivers a connectivity framework, its IoTivity open source implementation, and certification program. OCF devices can securely communicate regardless of form factor, operating system, service provider, transport technology or ecosystem.
OCF says its solutions leverage industry standards that allow anyone to quickly build a complex device from a consistent set of building blocks and provided tools, driving scalability and interoperability. OCF specifications are ratified by ISO/IEC JTC1. Learn more at OpenConnectivity.org.