Who’s Your Betamax of IoT Standards?

Image Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons In the world of IoT/IIoT an explosion of standards has fallen upon us. While we all can agree that standards are what binds our current communication infrastructures together, it does take time for the victorious standard to rise to the top of adoption. Some of us remember the battle that arose in the video tape arena between VHS and Betamax (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Videotape_format_war). While Betamax’s claim to fame was the superior picture, VHS had the longer recording time and a larger backing from the industry. In the end VHS won. And who can remember the tale of HD-DVD vs Blu-Ray, token-ring vs 10Base-T or WiMax vs LTE? Enter the IoT/IIoT wannabes.  In the communication protocol arena we have standards such as 802.15.4 (ZigBee), 802.11ah (Wi-Fi HaLow) and LoRa that want to use the 900 MHz spectrum to connect your devices back to a gateway and then to your cloud.  There are also application software framework standards such as Thread, Alljoyn, IoTivity, Arrowhead and LWM2M.  I won’t even mention all of the cloud platforms that aim to bring all of these pieces together in one place. Really, how many people think about the actual physical mechanisms that enable connectivity throughout the world? And within that, who thinks about the standards set by organizations that dictate the best method for connecting all our devices? Standards have the potential to affect ranges of communication, battery life on remote devices, signal interference, and many other things. The interesting part about the race to the top, so to speak, is that the standards mentioned above all have viable aspects that could potentially make them the ideal solution for connected infrastructure. Many of these standards have consortiums with major players such as Google, Microsoft, ARM and Samsung, all of which play at different places in the IoT/IIoT theatre.  So, unlike the tail of Betamax, many of these standards have the backing of multiple entities.  But, who’s going to win?  Which standard will come out on top? Or, will we find ourselves with multiple standards because we can’t agree on one to do the job?  What do you think? Who is your Betamax pick for IoT/IIoT?

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