Electronic Products’ Patrick Mannion recently interviewed IPSO Alliance founder and BOD member Geoff Mulligan about the Alliance’s recent announcement of its work on the next generation of smart object interoperability and the importance of interoperability for wearables. Mannion notes that “while IoT devices have converged around IP, the many application-layer approaches must be resolved if designers of wearable devices are to maximize their utility.”

From the article:

In the rapidly evolving Internet of Things, technology vendors are working to agree on a data model that will allow millions of resource-constrained devices to connect and communicate usefully. In the meantime, designers of wearable devices — for fitness, medical, location tracking, building access, or other applications — continue to find themselves having to pick sides, reducing interoperability and restricting the usefulness of devices.

There are almost as many reasons not to be interoperable as there are to be interoperable, especially if a device needs to be ultra-low-power, as is the case for wearables. While interoperability at the protocol level lets more devices communicate with each other, the downside is a “heavy” protocol with too much overhead that tries to account for too many device types and usage models that take up too much memory and consume too much power during communication. It also adds cost.