One of the least expected things I’ve learned since graduating and joining the full time workforce five years ago is the value of industry standards. They bring new industries together to agree on a compatible way of working, and make it possible for products to work smoothly together, allowing users to get on with innovating with products instead of around them.
A work mate tells an interesting story of incompatible screws* leading to the creation of the International Standards Organisation after World War Two. Tank mechanics were dismayed to find that their standard screws for fixing tanks couldn’t be used in tanks from both Britain and America. It caused enough of a ruckus that the standardisation of these tricky details was subject to a notable effort after the war.
Today I’m finding this interesting because Samsung, ARM, Nest and a few other companies have agreed on a standard for the Internet of Things (IoT), which they’re calling Thread. While Thread won’t be the first IoT standard – Bluetooth and the IoT specific ZigBee are both already in use – Thread is backed by major players from the start. Like with any debate over tech standards, this is going to be won by the group that gets the early share of the profitable mainstream market. With that in mind, Thread’s launch seems well timed – not early enough to be money-sucking, but not late enough to miss the game.
P.S. Thanks to Jack for the Wired article on Iotera that inspired me to write about IoT tonight.
*or possibly bolts – it started quite the debate among our team.