Mozilla’s open gateway project can stop tech giants from controlling IoT ecosystem
Web applications developer Mozilla is trying to prevent tech giants from controlling the Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem by releasing a new framework that can help organisations build an open gateway through which devices can connect to the internet.
The non-profit organisation, which believes in an open internet, is aiming to ensure through its ‘Things Gateway’ that consumers don’t end up with smart products at home which only work with certain products such as Amazon’s smart speaker Echo or Apple’s voice assistant Siri.
In such a scenario, accessory manufacturers will have to conform to IoT standards of big companies and also pay them huge sums as part of licensing agreements.
“There is no single standard for how these IoT devices should talk to each other,” Mozilla explained in a blog post. “Each vendor typically creates a custom application that only works with their own brand. If the future of connected IoT devices continues to involve proprietary solutions, then costs will stay high, while the market remains fragmented and slow to grow.”
Mozilla had last year said that it was working to create a framework of software and services that can bridge the communication gap between connected devices.
“We kicked off ‘Project Things’, with the goal of building a decentralized ‘Internet of Things’ that is focused on security, privacy, and interoperability,” the blog post said.
The company said it had engaged in open and collaborative development with a community of makers, testers, contributors, and end-users for this purpose.
“Today’s launch makes it easy for anyone with a Raspberry Pi to build their own Things Gateway,” Mozilla went on to say.
Raspberry Pi is a low cost, credit-card sized computer that plugs into a computer monitor or television, and uses a standard keyboard and mouse.
In addition to web-based commands and controls, a new experimental feature of the gateway uses voice-based commands.
“We believe this is the most natural way for users to interact with their smart home,” Mozilla added.
Under the new project, Mozilla appears to be working on smaller compartmental projects such as creating a standard, working out a gateway and an interface to manage the connected devices.