Microsoft pushes towards a more interoperable world with its Windows 10 IoT plans

Kareem Anderson

Image Credit: fastcompany

As of late, Microsoft has been warming to the idea of Interoperability. Perhaps, market forces are dictating Microsoft’s necessity to embracing the change, or maybe the company is attempting to re-establish its software roots in the industry. Whatever the cause, Microsoft has been collaborating with various foundations, internet groups and adopting standards that make its software as accessible as possible.

As the tech industry shifts its focus from mobile onto the Internet of Things, Microsoft is looking to keep pace. Microsoft has already begun to implement its vision for the IoT by putting the necessary building blocks into Windows 10. With Windows 10, Microsoft’s intent was to offer users one platform that is flexible, interconnected and able to speak to various devices seamlessly. However, without 3rd party support, Windows 10 effectively becomes the proprietary Windows of old. Microsoft is doing a lot of footwork to save Windows and IoT users from a potential siloed experience.

Alongside recent collaborations, Microsoft has also announced its participation in the AllSeen Alliance. This announcement works with in tandem with last years mention of AllJoyn support in Windows 10. With AllJoyn support in Windows 10, devs will have access to an open source software framework and a set of services that foster interoperability among connected devices. Developers who utilize this framework could also create a dynamic proximal network to help IoT devices run more intelligently. Specifically, AllJoyn addresses device discovery, interrogation, notification, and capabilities invocation in an open way, according to Microsoft. What AllJoyn fails to do, is address interoperability at the network physical layer.

Image Credit: MSDN Blog

To offer a complete IoT package, Microsoft and the founders of the Thread Group alongside 100 other member organizations came together to advance interoperability and communications for IoT devices. With Thread, Microsoft can now offer a communication layer that provides a secure and efficient packet delivery system that uses industry-standard protocols. Thread excels at building a mesh network layer that can transport various protocols and application standards. Thread also works over standard 802.15.4 radio as well as utilizes IPv6 for WiFi network messages. With the two open standards, Microsoft can now offer a robust and reliable mesh with Thread, on top of AllJoyn’s communications layer. For Microsoft, Thread’s mesh network opens up a host of cloud connected possibilities with services like Microsoft Azure IoT, and could offer substantial value in commercial deployment for Microsoft.

For Microsoft, it seems the only aspect vacant in the company’s IoT efforts is the proliferation of users actively using IoT devices.