The AllSeen Alliance, the organization pushing for the AllJoyn open standard for connected devices, has netted Microsoft as a member. Microsoft joins members such as Haier, Sears, LG, Panasonic, Qualcomm and others in supporting a protocol that helps devices communicate their capabilities. The idea is that each connected light bulb shouldn’t have proprietary code. Instead if they support AllJoyn then all share a set of abilities in a unified format with any device that asks.
The end goal of the effort is create fewer barriers for connected products trying to communicate and work together. I’m actually really hopeful that this standard can make it, because I think if we want to build truly connected homes, cars and cities, having some kind of unified way of figuring out what a device is and what it can do will be important in scaling any connected system to tens or even hundreds of devices.
As for Microsoft joining, it’s a big name, but it’s not yet in the connected home. So far I’ve been eager to understand what Microsoft has to offer outside of cloud services and data analytics via Azure or a connected large-format piano keyboard. So far, I’ve seen some Windows 8 device support for the Staples Connect platform and Microsoft is selling Insteon gear in its store. My hunch is that it realizes if it wants to put Windows on Devices it will have to move past its use of Intel Galileo boards for the maker community into something that’s a bit more popular and open. How that helps Microsoft make bank is still a question I can’t answer.