Qualcomm's Liat Ben-Zur: Open Source Collaboration Works
Earlier this year, Qualcomm wowed technology industry executives and analysts with a tour of its smart connected home at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The tour demonstrated how the Linux-based home automation platform AllJoyn connects all of the various in-home devices from appliances and lighting to TVs and talking teddy bears.
“As they walked through the home, you could see the executives truly understand the power of various devices across brands and verticals and visualize the potential for collaboration,” says Liat Ben-Zur, senior director at Qualcomm Connected Experiences and chairperson of the AllSeen Alliance, in the interview below.
What the tour didn't show, however, was what it takes to build the open source software platform that allows all of those devices to talk to each other. It is an impressive undertaking, with companies such as LG, Panasonic, Haier, Sharp and Silicon Image working together to build the AllJoyn platform alongside Qualcomm as part of the AllSeen Alliance, a Linux Foundation collaborative project.
In her keynote next week at Collaboration Summit in Napa, Calif., Ben-Zur will share the AllJoyn community's experiences using collaboration to advance software development and the Internet of Things.
Linux.com: You recently wrote that “The Internet of Everything does not require that everything needs to be connected to the internet.” What's your vision for how devices will interconnect?
Liat Ben-Zur: We imagine a different topology where every device in our home is interoperable and connected to a private internet, as opposed to having every device connecting out to the public internet. And then I, as a home owner, can decide which of my many connected devices should share data publicly versus privately. For example, I may choose not to expose when my toilet is flushed or when my garage door opens, however I may want to allow public cloud access to IP cameras so I can securely monitor my home when I am away. The idea is to provide consumers with more control of their data, choosing which data is to be exposed externally outside of the home and what is not.
What is the role of open source software in enabling that?
Ben-Zur: We believe that the AllJoyn vision can make a significant impact on shaping the future of the Internet of Things. To realize this vision, we need the expertise and creativity from all corners of the world, across many different disciplines and across many different verticals. Specifically, we want companies with HVAC systems experts to help define the standardized interfaces and automotive experts to help expand the AllJoyn open source project with standardized services for the automotive vertical. We truly believe that it will take a collaborative village to grow this project to become the de facto standard language for all connected things.
How will industry collaboration through the AllSeen Alliance contribute to this effort?
Ben-Zur: Some of the world’s leading consumer electronics and home appliances manufacturers, service providers, retailers, enterprise technology companies, innovative startups and chipset manufacturers have already joined the AllSeen Alliance. All of these companies have unique insights into the needs of their products, customers and businesses. By collaborating with all of these companies across an array of verticals, we are already starting to see how the existing AllJoyn open source project can benefit. For example, Technicolor recently joined the Alliance and they are already enabling a more data-centric publish and subscribe set of application programming interfaces (API). By combining Qeo’s APIs and secure architecture with AllJoyn’s software and services framework, developers and device makers will have more options and greater flexibility in how they implement a fully distributed Internet of Everything.
What has been the highlight, so far, of your experience with AllSeen?
Ben-Zur: Seeing executives from around the world having an “ah ha” moment at our Connected Home demos at MWC and CES. As they walked through the home, you could see the executives truly understand the power of various devices across brands and verticals and visualize the potential for collaboration. These moments have reaffirmed our strategic decisions and furthered our belief that we are, in fact, solving an important problem for the industry.
Why is Qualcomm invested in this collaborative approach?
Ben-Zur: The AllSeen Alliance is all about enabling an ecosystem and forming an industry standard that allows for the growth of the Internet of Everything across all verticals. Our homes, our cars, and the things around us are getting smarter every day. Why not give manufacturers and developers the tools they need to invent new ways for these smarter things to work together?