IIC and OpenFog Merge

The Industrial Internet Consortium has united with the OpenFog Consortium to focus on IIoT, AI, fog, and edge computing.

The Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) and the OpenFog Consortium have finalized the details to combine and become one international consortia in Industrial IoT, fog, and edge computing. The organizations will work together under the IIC umbrella. The goal of the combined consortium is to drive the momentum of the industrial internet, including the development and promotion of industry guidance and best practices for fog and edge computing.

IIC, OpenFog, edge computing, IIoT, IoT, fog computing, consortia

IIC and OpenFog have joined forces to become a larger consortium serving the development of Industrial IoT, as well as edge and fog computing. (Source IIC)

The merger between the two organizations will bring OpenFog members into the IIC at a time when their complementary areas of technology are emerging in the mainstream. The IIC, now incorporating OpenFog, also announced that the IIC Steering Committee, which guides the strategic direction of the organization, has elected two OpenFog principals:

  • Ron Zahavi, chief strategist for IoT Standards and Azure IoT at Microsoft. Zahavi is focused on IoT standards and consortia. He also leads Microsoft’s Worldwide IoT Architecture Community. Zahavi has extensive experience in all aspects of technology management and solution delivery, 18 of those related to IoT solutions. Matt Vasey, Microsoft director, AI and IoT business development, will serve as the alternate to Zahavi.
  • Mung Chiang, John A. Edwardson Dean of the College of Engineering, Purdue University. Chiang was previously the Arthur LeGrand Doty Professor at Princeton University and founded the Princeton EDGE Lab in 2009.  The Lab bridges the theory-practice gap in edge computing/networking research by spanning from proofs to prototypes. Chiang received the 2013 Alan T. Waterman Award for his contributions to networking R&D.

The Merger Is Already Progressing

IIC president Bill Hoffman noted that the merger came about because the two consortiums shared much of the same technology community. “We merged because we had overlapping memberships and overlapping efforts in the fog and edge technical work,” Hoffman told Design News. Hoffman noted that the OpenFog emphasis will be on the edge computing side. “I think it will merge under edge rather than fog. There’s lots of interest within the combined membership, which should accelerate deliverables.”

While the OpenFog brand will be absorbed by IIC over the next six months, a planned OpenFog event is still in place. “We are planning a Fog/Edge conference in December in Long Beach, Calif.  Otherwise, we’ll incorporate fog content into IIC,” said Hoffman. He noted that ICC is open to the concept of merging with other groups if the opportunity arises. “We’re always looking, but there’s nothing on the immediate horizon.”

Matt Vasey, OpenFog’s chairman and president, and director of AI and IoT business development at Microsoft, explained that the two groups are already taking steps to become one working consortium. “We are excited to take the first steps toward integrating the OpenFog Working Groups, Testbeds, and Use Cases with those of the IIC,” said Vasey. “Our membership is highly motivated to contribute at every level to continue the advancement of fog technology in the Industrial Internet.”

Rob Spiegel has covered automation and control for 19 years, 17 of them for Design News. Other topics he has covered include supply chain technology, alternative energy, and cyber security. For 10 years, he was owner and publisher of the food magazine Chile Pepper.

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