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AllSeen cuts the ribbon on a bridge to other IoT worlds

AllSeen cuts the ribbon on a bridge to other IoT worlds

The AllJoyn Device System Bridge can make outside products look and act like AllJoyn members

The AllSeen Alliance is expanding the reach of its AllJoyn Internet of Things framework with bridging software that lets other types of devices look like part of the same family.

AllJoyn is one of several emerging ways to make different IoT devices and applications find each other and work together securely. Along with alternatives such as IoTivity, it's in the running for implementation in the many new IoT products expected to hit the market in the coming years. A handful of products including IoT gateways, wireless speaker systems and a hot-water heater already have AllJoyn certification.

But making devices talk over a network is nothing new, and different protocols will exist side-by-side for a while. The AllSeen Alliance aims to tackle that issue in part with open-source software that Microsoft contributed to the AllJoyn project, called the AllJoyn DSB (Device System Bridge). AllSeen calls the DSB a "superconnector" because it could bring AllJoyn devices into contact with many other new and legacy IoT platforms in a way that looks native.

The DSB can talk to a device in its native protocol through a plugin and create a virtual version of that device that acts as a proxy within the AllJoyn world. Other AllJoyn devices and applications don't need to know anything else to interact with that proxy.

For example, the software is equipped to work with devices using the Z-Wave protocol for consumer electronics and the BACnet IP system for building automation. The DSB already has connectors for those two platforms and more are expected from the developer community and from vendors, AllSeen said.

IoTivity, a reference implementation of the IoT standard from AllSeen rival Open Interconnect Consortium, has a protocol plug-in manager for connecting non-OIC products to a network of OIC devices, the consortium says.

AllJoyn is based on technology originally developed by Qualcomm, while OIC was formed by companies including Intel and Samsung.

The AllJoyn DSB officially became available on GitHub on Tuesday. It's written in C++ and can be installed in Visual Studio 2015 preview. The initial release is for Windows devices, but AllSeen expects it to be ported to Linux as well.

Stephen Lawson covers mobile, storage and networking technologies for The IDG News Service. Follow Stephen on Twitter at @sdlawsonmedia. Stephen's e-mail address is stephen_lawson@idg.com

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