Electronic Design’s Bill Wong recently talked with Christian Légaré, President and Chairman of the IPSO Alliance, about its charter and the current state of affairs when it comes to IoT interoperability demands and connectivity. The interview is wide-ranging, covering topics from what interoperability is and why it is important, the “technology” of interoperability, where standards fit into the picture, why the IoT demands interoperability, as well as other IPSO work in progress. A short excerpt follows.

What is IPSO’s role in interoperability?

IPSO’s stated purpose has always been to explore, evaluate, and recommend best practices related to the use of IP in the IoT. We are not a standards definition organization; however, it turns out that our smart-object guidelines are in fact becoming a de facto standard.

We set out to define a model whereby semantic data could be easily conveyed and understood, publishing a limited set of definitions that has been met with broad interest. The Smart Object Guidelines have turned out to be ideal for LwM2M [LightweightM2M] applications, for example, which has led to a significant expansion of our object definitions. Now the question is how can we work with our semantics and data models and find the right framework to standardize them, given their broad adoption?

How do IPSO Smart Objects interact with existing standards?

IPSO uses existing standards. Our work to determine best practices and establish guidelines is based on standards; e.g., what to use, where, why, and when. We’re actively working to establish liaisons with organizations like OMA, OCF, IETF, and Thread so that we know what they’re working on and their next steps. That way, we can advise as to whether we think their approach makes sense. This is very much in line with our working group model, where we offer guidelines for existing standards or offer our opinion on those under development and discussion.

Can IPSO Smart Objects be the semantic interoperability layer for IoT?

Absolutely, and for one simple reason. When we defined the Smart Object Guidelines, the entire premise was they would be vertical-market-independent. They weren’t defined for industrial, or medical, or consumer; they are generic and light and simple. We feel this is why they were adopted so quickly.

Read the full interview