AllJoyn: Qualcomm’s bid to standardise the Internet of Things

Qualcomm chief Rob Chandhok talks to Kate O’Flaherty about the open source project that aims to connect billions of devices and applications

AllJoyn: Qualcomm’s bid to standardise the Internet of Things

In the midst of an industry struggling for a set of agreed standards, chipmaker Qualcomm’s AllJoyn initiative is a welcome addition.

Still in its infancy, the AllJoyn initiative was set up two and a half years ago. ‘We started to think about how mobile devices could talk to each other,’ Rob Chandhok, president of Qualcomm Internet Services and senior vice president of Qualcomm Technologies, says. ‘Android was picking up and we wanted devices to do things like gaming. But we saw a bunch of technologies that were 10 or 15 years old.’

The open source project aims to provide a universal software framework and core set of system services for cross-manufacturer operability across connected devices and software applications. Qualcomm aims to do this by creating proximal networks, connecting consumer apps in the home through to the enterprise.

Ad hoc solutions

AllJoyn is Qualcomm’s attempt to answer the question: ‘What is the HTTP of the internet of things?,’ according to Chandhok. ‘HTTP was designed for large scale and has evolved,’ he says. ‘AllJoyn is things that are ad hoc and unplanned – the way we live life. When I walk into a room I need to find things; the problem is proximity based.’

According to Qualcomm, one of the biggest problems is discovery. ‘Reliable discovery makes the foundations for these user agreements,’ Chandhok says. ‘A lot of systems do it but not very well and consumers stop using it, so we started thinking about doing that with mobile devices as well as PCs and laptops.’

Open collaboration

Chandhok cites the example of infotainment connectivity in the car market as a key area for growth. ‘How will my smart phone interact with the dashboard of my car?’ he asks. 

The AllJoyn solution works over Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and ‘everything else that’s been invented’, as it doesn’t rely on system architecture. This makes is great for developers,’ says Chandhok.

AllJoyn is completely open source, and Chandhok says the firm has spent ‘millions’ on R&D as it wants to collaborate with industry partners. The firm already has some partners and is starting to form an industrial alliance around AllJoyn. 

Qualcomm has around 40 apps in the market place and is hoping to see AllJoyn devices next year. ‘We really want it [AllJoyn] to be open; we want a group of governors who will manage the code,’ Chandhok adds.

There is also a strong security framework around the initiative. One of the big concerns is security and not being able to hack the devices in the home, Chandhok says. ‘Internet of Things can leave high service levels of attacks, but AllJoyn doesn’t require a connection to public internet.’

And with 50 billion devices expected to be connected to the internet by 2020, the AllJoyn initiative could be very wide reaching. ‘The business model for Qualcomm is to connect as many things as possible,’ says Chandhok.

Written by Wireless magazine
Wireless magazine

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