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The OpenFog Consortium & Industrial Internet Consortium Unite: Going from Framework to Functionality

By Carl Ford

We all hear about the “Edge,” but who is doing something about it?

Two notable consortia, the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) and the OpenFog Consortium, come immediately to mind. The two high-profile organizations have been working in parallel on advancing best practices and open technologies for edge computing. Today, the two announced that they are one.

We spoke with Matt Vasey, Chairman and President of OpenFog, prior to his keynote today at IoT Evolution Expo in Ft. Lauderdale. We discussed the strategy behind bringing OpenFog under the IIC umbrella and asked how it will impact the industry moving forward.

“We’re very excited to see the future of the Industrial Internet emerge from the fog,” said Vasey. “The combined organization will have the influence and resources to create a path and universal framework to enable interoperability for 5G, IoT and AI applications. We will address the hardware, software and system elements necessary to facilitate not only technology advancements but an active, vibrant ecosystem.”

At the IIC, a core activity has been the development of testbeds to look at the functionality and requirements in various vertical applications. Their experience is that there is almost always a benefit to having some element of computing as close to the sensors and devices as possible.

At OpenFog, the focus has been on developing a framework that could span across the different vertical markets and enable adherence to a universal technical framework. Published as the OpenFog Reference Architecture, this framework served as the basis for the IEEE fog computing standard, known as IEEE 1934.

OpenFog is now ready to take IEEE 1934 into the implementation phase. And, given that IIC was already testing so many implementations of edge compute, it was logical to join forces to bring the experience to the market.

This coming together of organizations comes at a time when, in many regions across the world, new groups are still forming to determine their requirements for edge compute solutions. These efforts are missing the opportunity to leverage the best practices frameworks being defined by IIC, now incorporating OpenFog. Their output is deliberately designed to provide an open model that fits a variety of implementations, including devices to gateways and of course interaction with the cloud.

Sometime soon, this joining of forces will mean an ability to certify vendors and their implementations.

The bottom line is that edge compute is being executed at the IIC in a robust way that will be less parochial and more universal. If you are looking at where the edge will be further defined and gain from experience, the IIC is now the place to watch.




Edited by Ken Briodagh
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