The Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) was announced this past March, founded by GE, AT&T, IBM, Intel and Cisco. The purpose of the IIC is to create technology testbeds to demonstrate different IoT use cases and identify any potential gaps in technology or standards. IIC is careful to explain they are not a standards group so they would feed any requirements into a standards organization.
This week I attended my first IIC meeting. The Eclipse Foundation joined IIC since the work we do is very complimentary. The ideal is that the IIC testbeds will use Eclipse IoT technology and new requirements from the testbeds will come back to the Eclipse IoT projects.
Based on my first meeting, IIC has accomplished what no other organization has done. It has brought together traditional industrial companies (GE, Toshiba, Pitney Bowes, Bosch, National Instruments, etc.) and more mainstream IT focus companies (IBM, Intel, Cisco, MS, etc) together into the same conversation. This is a critical accomplishment since the IoT industry needs to ensure the entire technology chain is compatible, all the way from the device to back-end enterprise system. The IIC testbeds are one way the industry will test for this compatibility.
Lots of people equate IoT with wearables or home automation. However, the real money in IoT is going to be on the industrial side connecting elevators, factory floors, wind farms, etc. These are complex systems that might not be consumer facing but will certainly drive the efficiencies and profits promised by IoT.
The IIC is just getting going. At the recent meeting there was lots of discussion about processes, vocabulary, detailed use cases, etc. To be honest, the more mundane details of starting an organization. However, the real “meat” will come when they start setting up the testbeds. It will be interesting to watch and participate in their progress.