IoT standards set for major shakeout, warns BSI



A standards shakeout is set to take place as Internet of Things (IoT) devices go mainstream, with 100 or more standards currently available or under development being pared down to a more manageable number.

That’s according to Peter James, market development manager, governance and resilience, at the British Standards Institution (BSI), speaking today at Computing‘s IoT Business Summit 2016 in London.

Furthermore, he warned, many of the proposals currently masquerading as IoT standards are really technologies looking for a purpose, rather than bespoke systems.

“Often, standards move to get the work rather than saying, ‘Here’s the business case that we have developed, there is a need for it’, and then build out the standards,” said James.

“What I think will happen is that there will be a shakeout; all of those standards just can’t exist. A couple of them are already, effectively, dead. There’s four or five different connected car initiatives, but there aren’t enough manufacturers around to support them and they can’t all co-exist,” he added.

Indeed, while the Zigbee standard that has been deployed in various smart meters rollouts is touted as a broader IoT standard, one audience member pointed out that it wasn’t originally developed for such a purpose.

“ZigBee was initially developed as a rival to Bluetooth almost 20 years ago, and they are not trying to relaunch it again,” said James.

On top of that, James added that some vendors are involved in multiple, competing standards, so simply following the big names is no guarantee that what they are backing will emerge as the de facto standard.

“The likes of Intel and ARM are involved in pretty much everything, as are organisations like Samsung. Google is behind Thread and Apple has HomeKit. All the big names are out there,” said James. “Some of these organisations [not just Intel and ARM] are involved in two or three initiatives that are potentially in competition. So there’s going to be a shakeout.”

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