Fairhair Alliance joins with Open Connectivity Foundation to advance IoT building automation capabilities

The Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF) announced Thursday that the work of the Fairhair Alliance and licensing of the Fairhair Specification will continue under the OCF name. This integration will advance interoperability and security within the automated building and lighting IoT verticals by combining two proven, reliable IoT frameworks.

The Fairhair Alliance has brought together lighting, building automation and IT companies to develop a secure onboarding framework based on IP for lighting and building control in commercial buildings. The mission to create a secure onboarding framework has been achieved and documented within the Fairhair Specification.

The Open Connectivity Foundation is dedicated to ensuring secure interoperability for consumers, businesses and industries by delivering a standard communications platform, a bridging specification,  an open source implementation and a certification program allowing devices to communicate regardless of form factor, operating system, service provider, transport technology or ecosystem.

Through this agreement, the OCF will maintain and improve the current Fairhair Specification while certifying Fairhair as an international standard through the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). 

The Fairhair Specification will augment the current OCF specifications, certification programs, and open source implementations, while reducing time-to-market by establishing standardized onboarding and application frameworks for building automation control and lighting control verticals.

The OCF aims to provide an application framework across multiple industries with specifications. The OCF based its specification on standard technologies such as Representational State Transfer (REST) and Secure Constrained Application Protocol (CoAP). 

In doing so, the OCF has built a reliable and secure communication stack with secure integration over a local or remote network using cloud services. Secure communication is independent of the physical and application layer or vertical and can be used by third parties. In addition to writing the specifications, the OCF sponsors the open source implementation of these specifications via the IoTivity program.

Current OCF specifications are intended for use in unmanaged networks, such as smart homes. Absorbing the Fairhair Specification will enable the implementation of OCF specifications in managed network scenarios, such as automated buildings. 

Unmanaged network smart home scenarios use just a single network, while automated building and managed networks have several subnets for different purposes. In unmanaged (home) scenarios, the number of connected devices on a single network ranges from 10-100. A managed network within a building can include tens of thousands of connected devices.

In unmanaged networks, only a single administrator is needed with multiple users of the system. In a managed network, each device can have multiple end users with access to different parts of the system. For example, an employee will not have access to emergency lighting, but a firefighter will. The network setup of a smart building must cater to these differences.

The OCF’s recently-launched Smart Commercial Building Project has developed a new set of requirements for devices, including more stringent device control and management. 

The project combines Fairhair specifications with existing Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) standards, such as Manufacturer Usage Description (MUD), Bootstrapping Remote Secure Key Infrastructures (BRSKI), Secure CoAP, Concise Binary Object Representation (CBOR) and Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) to allow the devices to be safely installed without having to integrate them one by one. These solutions are applicable to other areas that deploy managed networks, such as cities and smart factories.

“We are very pleased that the important work of our members and partners will now be developed further and brought to fruition by the OCF,” said Ruud van Bokhorst, secretary-general of the Fairhair Alliance.

“By coming together as a single group, we are streamlining our efforts to address today’s automated building and lighting needs with an eye to future connectivity, security, and reliability within a multitude of verticals as the IoT continues to evolve,” said John Park, executive director, Open Connectivity Foundation. “We are excited to continue working on our shared goal of creating a secure, interoperable IoT.”

IoT Innovator Newsletter

Get the latest updates and industry news in your inbox! Enter your email address and name below to be the first to know.