The trend toward connected machines, everything from power plants to home appliances, will no doubt have profound effects on the field service industry. Cisco estimates that there will be 50 billion intelligent, Internet-connected devices by 2020. What this connectivity will mean for technicians, customers and the revenue companies generate from new service models will play out as the Internet of Things moves from hype to reality.

But an underlying issue remains unsettled: Will these machines speak the same language? The benefit (and economic impact) of connected devices and sensors depends on those devices working together, but it won’t happen by chance. Industry heavyweights like GE, Cisco and others that have a lot to gain from the Internet of Things are banding together to set the standards for how those devices will communicate.

The Industrial Internet Consortium counts GE, IBM, Cisco, Intel and AT&T as founding members. The AllSeen Alliance includes Qualcomm, Microsoft, LG and Sharp. And the latest entrant this week, according to Gigaom, is the Open Interconnect Consortium, founded by Intel and Samsung, among others. The names and corporate backers aren’t really important. What is important is that a group will have to win the standards race — and soon — for the industrial Internet of Things to succeed.

Read more at Gigaom

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