Forbes Council Discusses the Differences Between Open vs Closed Standards

Posted on November 9th, 2016

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A recent article in Forbes magazine asked nine technology and members of Forbes Technology Council their thoughts on regarding the issue of open versus proprietary standards in developing software for the Internet of Things (IoT). In various posts on this blog, we have highlighted the differences between technical specifications and standards, and have encouraged IoT development community to embrace the OpenStand principles. Here are a few examples: W3C and the McKinsey Report.

The experts from the Forbes council had varying opinions on the use of open vs. proprietary standards for IoT:

Sagi Brodi of Webair said, “Companies will adopt open standards to ease interoperability and get to market faster,” further acknowledging that there is room for both in the marketplace and that it will be a matter of natural selection.

Bishnu Nayak of FixStream Inc., took a similar stance, asserting hybrid solution will win in the end. Both open standard and proprietary technologies have benefits it just will come down to distilling those benefits and finding a solution combining both.

Ashley Saddul of Recruiter.com agreed with Nayak’s hybrid solution, arguing that while the IoT is still early in its development, companies see the potential and will look to secure market advantages. Saddul asserts that we will eventually end up with a premium commercial standard with a less sophisticated open-source alternative.

Marko Lehtimaki from AppGyver provided a different view, that both proprietary and open standards can succeed. “There will likely be a handful of platforms and protocols which IOT devices need to support. Open standards will spark more innovation, but proprietary technology might provide a better user experience.”

Nicholas Thompson of Grit, pointed out that open standards historically facilitate the level of interoperability, which allows for hardware and software components to work more seamlessly.  Thus, he argues, open standards normally win out.

The exception to this rule could be related to proprietary standards.

Gurpreet Singh of TalkLocal, advocates for “strength in exclusivity.” Singh asserts that the level of customer loyalty and brand power will allow powerhouses like Apple to develop their own standards, which will co-exist with open standards. Because of this dynamic, Singh asserts that Apple will pull ahead because of higher quality control and marketing dollars.

Where you do fall on this debate? Let us know in the comments below!

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