AT&T, Cisco, GE, IBM and Intel announced Thursday the formation of the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC), an open membership, not-for-profit group that will work to bring together the historically separated worlds of operational technology and information technology.
The IIC will work to identify requirements for open interoperability standards and define common architectures to connect smart devices, machines, people, processes and data. Simply put, the IIC feels technologies ranging from simple soda machines to high-powered wind turbines could be made better by being made smarter and more connected, right out of the box.
During a conference call Ton Steenman, vice president of the IoT Solutions Group at Intel, said the IIC is a major step forward to drive interoperability and standardization for the Internet of Things. The importance of standardization was echoed by Bill Ruh, vice president, GE Software, who said it is critical to have common standards to make machines effectively work together.
"We are talking about a heterogeneous world across multiple industry segments, so standards will be key," added Ron Ambrosio, IBM's CTO for Smarter Energy Research, during the call.
Governmental agencies are also backing the IIC. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker said in a statement that the Administration looks forward to working with public-private collaborations like the new IIC to help turn Industrial Internet products and systems into new jobs in smart manufacturing, health care, transportation and other areas.
"By linking physical objects to the full power of cyberspace, the Industrial Internet promises to dramatically reshape how people interact with technology," Pritzker said.
The IIC will be managed by Boston-based Object Management Group, another not-for-profit dedicated to computer industry standards.