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QUALCOMM: AllJoyn, a Common Language for the Internet of Everything - PART 1
By Lingo Lin 2015-01-12
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We recently had the opportunity to sit down with Matt Michael, senior director of product management at Qualcomm and Chairman of the AllSeen Alliance, to talk about AllJoyn and his perspectives on the latest developments of the smart home field.

Q: Tell us how AllJoyn got started and what Qualcomm thinks about smart home?

About five years ago we started the AllJoyn open source project as part of Qualcomm developer ecosystem team. What we identified was that there were a lot of app developers who were building these peer-to-peer applications where you would have for example games you would play with people that were in the same room as you.

In all those cases, the app developers really struggled to figure out how to use all the ubiquitous Wi-Fi and Bluetooth that were on all the phones because they weren't radio protocol experts. Instead they all fell back to leveraging the cloud. Even though you're playing poker with five friends who are two feet away from you at another table, instead of just all interacting locally, peer to peer, these games and these apps all went through the cloud. This meant they incurred a lot of latency that just wasn't necessary. We started digging into that and we realized we can solve this problem because it’s something that Qualcomm was good at.

Q: How did AllJoyn move from here and how was the idea for an open alliance conceived?

A couple of years ago we were thinking about what's next in the evolution of the industry. It was very clear to us that the Internet of Things and getting all these different devices connected beyond smartphones is next. It also occurred to us that this little open source project that we had started called AllJoyn could play a fundamental part in enabling what we believed to be the future of the Internet of Things. What I mean by that is, we kind of looked at the world and how IoT was happening today. What we observed was, every device manufacturer was adding some type of connectivity to their device, whether it was Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Ethernet or a cable line. Each one of these devices would then just get connected to that device's cloud. For example, you buy a connected thermostat, and a connected thermostat talks to the thermostat's app via the thermostat company's cloud. You buy a connected refrigerator, and the connected refrigerator has its own app and it talks to that refrigerator company's cloud.

Q: How many members did you start out with and what were some of the responses in the early stages of the Alliance?

We started working with the Linux foundation and around 25 other founding members at the time and we kicked off the AllSeen Alliance. The mission of the AllSeen Alliance is quite simple. It is a shared vision in that all of the connected devices that are entering our world should be able to discover and interact with one another. The basis of this is the open source project called AllJoyn. What we wanted was companies who are experts in appliances, automotive, audio equipment or consumer electronics to come into the Alliance and augment the open source project while adding all the necessary pieces that would allow AllJoyn to be appropriate for those various verticals.

Q: What is your vision of an open alliance and has it turned out to what you expected?

We really wanted to focus on an open source project, kind of more in the vein of like Lab Kit or Linux even where member companies join and we don't talk about specs or debate our visions of IOT. If there's a company who feels that they need something to create a standardized interface for connected lights, they build it and they contribute it. Now everyone in the world has that implementation for a standardized way to control connected lights. If there's a company that feels we need to improve security for certain situations on top of AllJoyn, they can come into the Alliance and they can contribute that code. That's really what we set out to do from day one and I would say that what we're pretty happy to report at this point.

To be continued.
AllJoyn, a Common Language for the Internet of Everything – Part 2 of 2


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