I’ve been writing about technology for the better part of eight years now, and I would be stating the obvious if I said that things have changed a lot during that time. But in a way, I would beg to differ that some things really haven’t changed at all.
Take the topic of standards, for instance. When I first started writing about technology it was for the manufacturing space and all the buzz was around OPC and its role in linking the plant floor. As I moved to construction, the big topic was IFCs and integrating disparate data from models in order to build and manage facilities better. Then I moved to the M2M space, and the talk of standards and interoperability … well, let’s just say it’s an ongoing discussion.
I guess that line that someone told me years ago still holds true to this day: Standards are wonderful, that is why everyone wants to have one.
So when we had Brian Macdonald of ANT on The Peggy Smedley Show last week, I wasn’t surprised when the conversation shifted to the topic of standards. ANT is a very cool technology, providing an ultra-low-power short-range communication link to various devices and systems. It enables the collection and transfer of data with a range of products in the fitness arena, for example, the Garmin Forerunner. The company has ANT+, which is the standard that goes on top of ANT, the protocol, which provides for interoperability from the various devices and the various manufacturers.
The company has even formed the ANT+ Alliance, a special industry group for companies that want to use ANT and ANT+. According to Macdonald, there are 220 current members of the alliance with some 250 products and services available, and that number is growing every month.
I think it’s great that we are talking about standards even for fitness devices. While some might think the topic has been beaten to death, we cannot ignore its importance as we look to build this community of connected devices. The consumer can be the biggest driving factor towards establishing standards, in that all it takes is one time where the technology doesn’t work and they abandon it. And that really becomes a detriment to everyone developing products in the space.
I’m looking forward to hearing more from Brian at our Connected World Conference, where he will be talking about standards during our standards day on June 17. We always get the biggest thought leaders in the M2M space attending our event, and I can’t wait to hear the open and interactive discussions that Brian’s presentation will spark at the conference.
For that matter, I am looking forward to the entire day of standards talk. I cannot get into all the details quite yet but we will be hearing from the TR-50 talking about standards. You won’t want to miss a minute of this day.