Over the past few months, we’ve done some work covering technology certification bodies that have made it their mission to bring open interoperability to their respective markets. In particular, we’re talking about the Wireless Speaker and Audio Association (WiSA) and the Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF). The former focuses on certifying products in the home entertainment/home theater space, while the latter has its sights set on the smart home and eventually the smart city.
Both WiSA and OCF had presences at CES 2018, through their own setups and via the booths of their members. And speaking with them both, CES has provided them the perfect platform to push their messages out to the broader consumer tech market.
Prior to CES WiSA announced its expansion into the gaming market by both signing Xbox on as a member of the association and helping Axiim introduce their Link product, which plugs directly into the Xbox One X, essentially turning it into a home theater hub. At the show, WiSA technical director Justin St. Clair explained that the organization has recently started to turn the corner from one that has had to market itself to the industry to help grow membership. Now, he said, the association has companies coming to them with the hopes of achieving their certification and becoming members of the organization. Similarly, OCF recently eclipsed the 400 member mark and has experienced an influx of companies approaching them as they seek to obtain the organization’s certification.
The benefits to the companies achieving certification in either case are obvious. But the real results will be felt by OCF, WiSA, and—perhaps most importantly—consumers of these products. WiSA-certified products allow the consumer to basically pick and choose the components of their home theater setup. Maybe they enjoy their LG OLED TV, but want to hook it up to a Klipsch Soundbar and their B&O speakers with an Enclave sub, and using their Xbox as the media server. Prior to WiSA existing, that idea would’ve been nothing short of a pipe dream. Now it’s a reality through the work of the association, bringing its members together to allow for that interoperability.
For OCF, IoT protocols, which can be a pain in the ass for consumers to navigate, get torn down in favor of products talking to one another no matter what the manufacturers would have you believe. Their goal is to create a unified frontier that’s simple for the consumer to understand and that keeps them and their data secure. Some of the biggest names in tech are signed onto the foundation, including LG, Microsoft, Samsung, Qualcomm, Intel, and hundreds of others. The organization’s goal is to build their membership out to include the full breadth of IoT devices—smart car and smart city technology, included.
For all of the new gadgets that CES 2018 has produced, it’s the work of organizations and certification bodies like WiSA and OCF that are truly helping drive the tech industry forward.