Companies race to set standard for linking devices

Companies race to set standard for linking devices
Intel Corp. CEO Brian Krzanich unveils a wearable processor called Curie, a prototype open source computer the size of a button, at the 2015 International CES at The Venetian Las Vegas on January 6, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

LAS VEGAS - A format war is brewing in the so-called Internet of Things market, with various companies touting the superiority of their own standards at the world's largest consumer electronics trade show that opened here Tuesday.

Information technology companies and appliance manufacturers are scrambling to gain the edge in a market projected to grow to $3 trillion (S$4 trillion) in 2020.

At the International Consumer Electronics Show, personnel at the booth of major US chipmaker Qualcomm opened the door of a refrigerator made by Sweden's Electrolux. After the door was left ajar, LED lighting made by US startup Lifx Labs flashed red and an alert was displayed on a smartwatch from South Korea's LG Electronics. Products from different manufacturers can interact so smoothly thanks to AllJoyn technology, the staff explained.

AllJoyn is a specification for connecting devices created by the AllSeen Alliance, a Qualcomm-led group for standardization of IoT technologies. The strength of this camp is its size, with more than 100 companies having signed up, according to Qualcomm President Derek Aberle.

IoT is expected to become the next big growth field after smartphones. Whether 50 billion devices will be interconnected by 2020 as projected will depend on whether they can connect to each other properly and exchange data securely. IoT standards will hold the key to keeping development costs low and making the technology easy to use.

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