During Apple's World Wide Developer Conference held in early June, Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president of software engineering, introduced "HomeKit" that's behind a new Home Automation App coming to iOS 8 later this fall. The new app will be able to start controlling smart devices, such as garage door openers, lights, and security cameras. According to Federighi, all you'll have to do is speak into you iPhone and say the words "Get ready for bed" and it'll trigger Siri to go into action by dimming your home's lights, lower the thermostat, lock your doors and make sure your garage door is closed – automatically and instantly. Obviously the news of Apple's HomeKit caught Microsoft off-guard once again. Microsoft's developer conference, which was held back in April called "Build 2014," didn't mention anything whatsoever about home automation. Then after Apple's announcement, Microsoft quickly launched a new startup accelerator in Redmond on June 18 focused on home automation and the Internet of Things, in partnership with American Family Insurance. Realizing their initiative wasn't going to attract enough attention quick enough to compete with Apple's HomeKit, Microsoft has now raced to join the Linux based AllSeen Alliance.
According to a press release published this morning, the AllSeen Alliance was proud to announce that Microsoft has joined the broadest Internet of Everything open-source project as a Premier Member to make it easier for a broad range of everyday devices, objects and services to interoperate seamlessly and intelligently.
With the addition of Microsoft, the AllSeen Alliance now totals 51 members, including heavy hitters in consumer electronics manufacturers, home appliance makers, automotive companies, Internet of Things cloud providers, enterprise technology companies, innovative startups, chipset manufacturers, service providers, retailers and software developers.
Microsoft joins Haier, LG, Panasonic, Qualcomm Connected Experiences, Inc., Sharp, Silicon Image, Technicolor and TP-Link as Premier Members of the Alliance, in addition to 42 Community Members.
The AllSeen Alliance was established in December 2013 to address a major challenge facing the Internet of Things, which according to McKinsey Global Institute has the potential to create an economic impact of $2.7 trillion to $6.2 trillion annually by 2025: Making sure smart connected devices and objects can work together regardless of brand, operating system and other infrastructure considerations.
AllSeen Alliance members are collaborating on a universal software framework, based on "AllJoyn" open source code that allows devices to autonomously discover and interact with nearby products regardless of their underlying proprietary technology or communications protocols. With over 1 billion Windows devices in the market across a variety of verticals, AllJoyn will ultimately expand across these segments, creating a truly horizontal ecosystem for the Internet of Everything.
Liat Ben-Zur, Chairman of the AllSeen Alliance stated that "We're delighted to welcome Microsoft to the AllSeen Alliance. No single company can accomplish the level of interoperability required to support the Internet of Everything in everyday, real-life scenarios. Microsoft's strong presence in the home via computers, tablets, phones, gaming platforms and their strength in the consumer, enterprise, education, industrial automotive sectors, uniquely enables them to accelerate the adoption of the AllSeen Alliance's AllJoyn open source code across a very wide swath of products and verticals."
"Microsoft believes that the Internet of Things is not a futuristic notion but is here today in the devices, sensors and cloud infrastructure all around us," said Kevin Dallas, General Manager, Operating Systems Group, Microsoft. "But in order to make the Internet of Things truly successful, there are challenges to be addressed in securely connecting and managing all these devices and interacting with cloud services and machine-generated data. We believe the AllSeen Alliance is a very important effort to collaboratively address these challenges, and we're excited about joining the initiative."
Developers are now following leaders like Apple and Google. Google's home automation project was announced and released to their developers last week called "Works with Nest." Microsoft is struggling to get back into favor with developers as their mobile OS is lagging far behind that of iOS and Android in the mobile space.