“I cannot think of a better example where interoperability is more important than the Internet of Things. Without interoperability, lights won’t work with the switches, sensors can’t be read by your smartphone, and devices cannot use the networks around them”. - Jari Arkko, former chair, IETF
The Internet Society 2017 report- Paths to our Digital Future recognizes interoperability as fundamental to the success of IoT. Interoperability, standards and protocols, and security are all intertwined and essential to the success of IoT. Without them, we face a different kind of fragmentation — where devices and systems simply will not work together. Users will hesitate to adopt IoT if it cannot be integrated with other technologies, it is too complex to easily manage, or if they risk being “locked in” to a particular vendor. McKinsey & Company estimates that “40 percent of the total value that can be unlocked requires different IoT systems to work together”.
The large-scale and widespread innovation prospects of IoT will thrive a race between businesses to be a leader in the space. This pressure to get ahead will bring more and more IoT devices and gateways using proprietary/non-standard technologies into market. This proliferation of proprietary IoT edge will pose a challenge of interoperability between them and rest of the open end-to-end Internet.
IoT will make unprecedented demands on communication infrastructure, data storage, security and privacy, requiring significant investment in upgrading networks, internet addressing and energy supply. In some cases, specialized access networks might be built to support sensors, for example in smart cities, and there will increase demand on networks, energy supply and for Internet addressing. Even in the midst of these challenges, it is essential to give importance to standardized and interoperable solutions to derive the full potential of IoT.