A tour of the smart health and wellness section at CES 2017 yesterday brought home to me the importance of interoperability between IoT devices far more effectively than trawling through a mountain of articles and presentations on the subject.
As companies introduce all manner of smart tracking gadgets, garments, shoes, and even beds onto the market, they are naturally eager that consumers should purchase all such products solely from them and plug into the cloud services they offer to help them manage the resulting data.
Very few people, however, are loyal to one single brand, so the question arises as to how it will be possible for consumers to aggregate data generated by different devices from different vendors. Managing your sleep, exercise, and dietary information using three different applications will not only be a hassle, but it will also make it much more difficult to carry out a complete analysis of the overall state of your health without being a spreadsheet wizard.
At this stage of the IoT market’s development, it’s natural that many companies are taking a walled-garden approach to the products and services they are offering. However, as consumers become savvier about their devices and data, they are going to make increasing vocal demands that the products they buy from one vendor should automatically be able to talk with the ones they have purchased from others.
This is why the work that the OCF is doing to create a common interoperability framework for IoT devices is so important. Without it, consumers will be disappointed and the overall market will fail to achieve its huge growth potential.