SAN FRANCISCO -- Samsung Electronics (IW 1000/14), Intel Corp (IW 500/26) (INTC) and Dell have joined to establish standard ways for household gadgets like thermostats and light bulbs to talk to each other, at odds with a framework backed by Qualcomm (IW 500/63) (QCOM) LG Electronics and other companies.
The new Open Interconnect Consortium, like the Qualcomm-supported AllSeen Alliance, aims to establish how smart devices work together in a trend increasingly called the Internet of Things.
The new consortium, which also includes chipmakers Broadcom and Atmel, was announced on Monday.
Manufacturers are rolling out growing numbers of Internet-connected burglar alarms, televisions and light switches. But like the early days of video cassette recorders, current smart home products are often incompatible with each other.
Doug Fisher, general manager of Intel's Software and Services Group, told Reuters that the framework to be developed by the new consortium would address security and other issues not adequately handled by the AllSeen group.
The potential emergence of smart household products made by manufacturers using two sets of incompatible standards would be incidental, he said.
"We're not out to create that. We just think the industry has spoken and there's this approach that's needed," Fisher said. "We're certainly welcoming others to participate."
Last week, Microsoft became the 51st member of the AllSeen Alliance, which also includes Sharp Corp and other consumer electronics manufacturers.
Rob Chandhok, senior vice president of Qualcomm Technologies Inc, compared the two competing standards groups to walled-off online services in the early 1990s before widespread Internet use.
"It's better for us to have an industry-wide shared platform than to be divided," Chandhok said. "I don't want to get to a 'Prodigy and CompuServe' of the Internet of Things."
Technology heavyweights Apple and Google are also pursuing their own ways of interconnecting household devices.
Apple, known for strictly controlling how other companies' products interact with its own, in June announced HomeKit, which will integrate control of devices like lights and thermostats.
Google's Nest has also partnered with companies including Whirlpool Corp. and light bulb maker LIFX to integrate their products with its thermostats and smoke detectors.
By Noel Randewich
(Reporting by Noel Randewich; Editing by Jan Paschal)
Copyright Reuters, 2014