Will Open Source Save the Internet of Things?

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To some degree, open source is already present throughout the Internet of Things value chain. Cloud apps that collect and analyze data are heavily dependent on open source software and standards, for example.
And many of the individual IoT devices and gateways run on some version of Linux. "Device manufacturers have taken up open source software at the operating system level at a 40 to 50 percent share, but there's also a lot of proprietary and legacy software embedded in devices and that will continue," says Bill Weinberg, senior director at Black Duck Software.
"And applications will probably be proprietary because they represent an opportunity, at least in the mind of device manufacturers, to provide exclusive differentiation," he adds.
But it's not so much the technology inside the IoT devices, or end user control applications where open source will make the biggest difference. It’s where the need is the greatest -- the middleware, the messaging standards and the behind-the-scenes management applications.
Without that, customers and enterprises considering investing in IoT technology are having a hard time putting all the pieces together, and many are putting off purchases altogether to avoid betting on dead-end platforms.
On the consumer side, there are many proprietary silos as well, such as Google's Thread platform, and Apple's HomeKit. ZigBee, an older proprietary communication standard has multiple profiles within the standard, so different ZigBee devices don't necessarily speak the same language.
Wider adoption of open source will help Internet of Things ecosystems grow and develop by making it easier for products from different vendors to communicate with one another, as well as by lowering barriers to entry for new companies, and lowering costs.
AMD, one of the companies making processors for IoT devices, is keeping a close eye on the open source IoT projects.
"What looks interesting is the AllSeen Alliance," says Dilip Ramachandran, director of marketing for the embedded business at Advanced Micro Devices. "We're not partners yet, but are looking at it."
He too, agreed that it's still too early to see which open source stack will eventually win out.
"As the solutions come in, it will take a couple of years to know whether one is going to dominate over the other," he says.
Network World:  http://bit.ly/1Fl4faK

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