OCF and Thread Group Alliance Boosts Windows 10 and its Smart Home Initiative

Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF) and Thread Group, recently collaborated to fire up the automated ‘smart home’ functionalities on the Windows 10 operating system.

The development promises to enhance the compatibility of IoT devices on Windows 10, especially at a time when Microsoft plans to make the operating system (OS) a primary platform for smart home applications.

The Windows 10 OS, integrated with Microsoft’s Cortana voice assistant, will help users with a variety of home automation tasks like switching on lights, closing a door, or checking a freezer for supplies. The new partnership is expected to bring forth transformational changes in IoT-based smart home technology, making it easier for devices to connect and communicate with each other

Eliminating the glitches of native IoT standards, the new alliance will most likely improve interoperability between devices while supporting communication for a varied range of IoT products over the Windows 10 platform. This essentially means devices operating on the Windows 10 OS can connect with smart home features to automate home tasks through predefined programs depending on specific events or time of day.

According to market predictions, the consortium between Thread Group, Microsoft, and OCF will energize the overall smart home market adding value to IoT products developed by Nest Labs and AllJoyn.

Expressing views on the latest developments, a senior Microsoft official stated in an email, "As members of OCF, we are very excited by this development and look forward to moving closer to a world where smart home devices 'just work' together regardless of brand or make."

To enable smart home applications function at optimum levels, Windows 10 will have to align itself with a number of IoT devices, which many believe will be much easier now with the recently developed alliance with standards bodies like OCF and the Thread Group.

Both organizations will join forces and work hand in hand to enhance synchronization between smart homes and IoT devices, allowing users to mobilize automated smart home applications via their smartphones, Xbox console, Raspberry Pi 3, or a Windows PC.

Moreover, it will also let users create specific voice command profiles in Cortana, such as "activate smart home," instantly setting in motion pre-programmed functionalities like switching on lights and activating the security system or air conditioner.

OCF, formerly Open Interconnect Consortium (OIC), will help develop tools for connectivity, discovery, and security of IoT devices, along with its key members, Intel, Samsung, Dell, and AllSeen Alliance, a Microsoft-backed company.

Being founding members of Thread Group, technology companies like ARM, Qualcomm, and Nest will also be a part of the development program.

The OCF protocol, slated for release sometime in 2017, will infuse the network transports and protocols of Thread Group, after its integration into the Windows 10 OS.

In order to let the OCF tools perform on Windows 10, Microsoft will have to slot in the Thread APIs. The company has already released an open-source bridge named IoTivity, which will help establish connectivity between OCF tools, and AllSeen Alliance’s AllJoyn APIs. The move will encourage compatibility of AllJoyn devices with OIC-compatible IoT devices.

Written By: Gina Haraway

Gina Haraway is Avnet Embedded's Director of Supplier Business Development, Microsoft Global. With over 20 years of experience in the technology industry and 6 years at Avnet, Gina has held several positions and has extensive knowledge and experience in inside & field sales, account development and supplier business development.

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