Consortium Wants Standards for ‘Internet of Things’

Consortium Wants Standards for ‘Internet of Things’


MARCH 27, 2014, 9:00 AM  1 Comments

Attention: Internet of Things. For better or worse, big boys are in the room.

A consortium of industrial giants, including AT&T, Cisco, General Electric, IBM and Intel said on Thursday that they would cooperate to create engineering standards to connect objects, sensors and large computing systems in some of the world’s largest industrial assets, like oil refineries, factories or harbors. The White House and other United States governmental entities were also involved in the creation of the group, which is expected to enroll other large American and foreign businesses.

“I don’t think anything this big has been tried before” in terms of sweeping industrial cooperation, said  William Ruh, vice president of G.E.’s global software center. “This is how we will make machines, people and data work together.”

There are connections among all sorts of industrial assets, like sensors on turbines or soda machines that tell suppliers when they are running low on cola.

The means by which this “Internet of Things” uses power and sends data around has been somewhat haphazard.

The group, called the Industrial Internet Consortium, hopes to establish common ways that machines share information and move data. Creating standards for things like the electricity levels within small machines, or the kinds of radio technology a railroad might use to signal track conditions, can increase the size of the potential market and speed product development.

“As an industry, we’ve come to the conclusion that for the Internet of Things to really take off, we needed more interoperability, better building blocks and better standards,” said Abhi Ingle, a senior vice president of AT&T’s advanced solutions group. In addition to approving standards and practices, the group is expected to publish case studies, run forums and cooperate on new security practices.

There is also a government push behind the group. About a year ago, Mr. Ruh said, an academic adviser to G.E. introduced him to people from the National Science Foundation, the White House and others about creating standards.

Besides the member companies, other academics, venture capitalists and private equity investors were in the discussions, he said. “We came to the conclusion that if we were really going to move this forward, it would require that these systems would have to integrate off the shelf,” Mr. Ruh said.

Creating a big group of large United States players that sets policies could also seem like domination of a nascent industry. Even if other companies come in, the founders will each hold permanent seats on the group’s  steering committee, along with four nonfounding members. Other companies are expected to join the consortium soon.

The group’s executive director, Richard Soley, is also chief executive of the Object Management Group, a global technology standards group. He said the new consortium was already seeing interest from overseas companies, including Fujitsu of Japan, Germany’s Siemens and China’s Huawei.

“What we have got to do is get all of the standards working together,” he said. “If Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 had had full interoperability with the world’s tracking systems, we’d know where it is to a square meter.”


About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (, the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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