“IoT appears to be growing up and past the standards battle stage of life. Instead, its participants are increasingly seeing the field as a series of applications and use cases with the most appropriate IoT technology being slotted in as appropriate, not as a big playing field served by a winning IoT flavor.”
— Ian Scales in a Telecom TV piece
I couldn’t have said it better.
IoT is not a single, monolithic technology. It is an assortment of different technologies for different applications and use cases. And IoT is growing up fast.
I’ve had a front-row seat to this growth in my role as executive director of the NFC Forum. Near field communication is a standards-based short-range wireless connectivity technology that makes life easier and more convenient for consumers around the world by making it simpler to make transactions, exchange digital content and connect electronic devices with a touch. NFC can play a key role in many IoT use cases. Over the last few years, we have signed a number of liaison agreements for just the reasons pointed out above. We wanted to share and promote NFC and IoT technologies to explore mixed technology use cases, solutions and applications.
AIM, LoRa Alliance, the Thread Group and NFC Forum
Companies, associations and standards bodies need to partner and share to create new systems and technology. It’s how a market grows. Below are recent examples where partnerships with a diverse group of IoT technologies are laying the groundwork for new IoT offerings.
- AIM and the NFC Forum signed an agreement to mutually expand the ecosystem for AIM/NFC IoT and industrial applications. AIM is an industry alliance that represents organizations that use, implement, resell or develop technology around barcoding, RFID and mobility technology. The agreement between the two groups is focused on defining and promoting use cases to help connect, commission and control the predicted 36 billion IoT devices in use by 2020.
- The LoRa Alliance is the global association of companies backing the open LoRaWAN protocol for IoT low-power wide area networks. We are partnering for technical cooperation, use case exploration and the potential to promote the use of NFC in combination with LoRaWAN for IoT applications. NFC technology complements LoRaWAN by potentially bringing the convenience and flexibility of using the 2 billion NFC-enabled devices, such as smartphones and tablets, to provide a variety of services in the field. LoRaWAN is deployed globally in key application areas including intelligent building, supply chain, smart city and agriculture.
- The goal of the agreement between the Thread Group and the NFC Forum is to provide a new IoT user interface experience by using NFC technology when installing and configuring a device to a Thread network. The plan is to collaborate on how NFC technology can be deployed as part of the IoT device installation, configuration and commissioning process on a Thread network. Thread is a low-power wireless mesh networking protocol, based on the universally supported IP and built using open and proven standards that can advance and accelerate adoption of IoT. Thread was designed to support a wide variety of applications in homes and buildings, such as appliances, access control, climate control, energy management, lighting, safety and security.
IoT and sharing
IoT is growing up. Standards still matter. Standards overcome market inertia and lay a path forward. They are the technology foundation technologies are built on. But, increasingly, in a wide variety of IoT markets — automatic identification and data capture, industrial, home and buildings or out in the field — we are seeing the rise of use cases and the sharing of technology to solve problems and create new products. From my front-row seat, it’s an exciting time to be involved in IoT, and the big winners will be the technologies that share and partner the most.
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