As we gear up to witness the next wave of growth in Internet of Things (IoT), the importance of standardisation becomes more evident for device-makers and future-enabled organizations. Wolfgang Eisenbarth, Chairman, Standardization Group For Embedded Technologies (SGET), in an exclusive interaction with Rahul Chopra of the EFY Group shares how advantageous standardised IoT elements are and how organisations like SGET are bringing that advantage to industry players.
Q. When was SGET setup? How would you describe the mission of SGET?
The SGET was founded in 2012 as a consortium of independent manufacturers with a common interest in quickly adopting embedded technology innovations through open and free standards. The emphasis is on high innovation and low bureaucracy. We are a non-profit organisation sustained by membership fees.
The SGET’s global mission is to enable the development and evolution of embedded computing hardware and software standards in such a way that the technology deployed can keep pace with the change in market requirements. This can be particularly critical for the rapid implementation of new standards for devices, communications, connectivity and interoperability.
Q. How does SGET ensure that the mission is achieved?
The mission is being achieved when our Standards Development Teams (SDTs) focus on how to accelerate customers’ time-to-market. The SGET offers less bureaucracy than comparable organisations. We accomplish this by vesting voting rights to the members who are manufacturers with a broad hardware or software focus and who have a direct interest in the resulting specification. All other non-voting members are valued for their expertise in developing and applying technology, enabling the productisation and integration of SGET products, offering value-added services and shaping markets.
As technologies evolve, and improved performance and higher quality are enabled through market innovation, the SDT’s job is to decide when the next leap can be made and to bring people together to agree on common standards quickly and easily so that all participants – manufacturers, industrial users and service providers – can deploy next-gen technology improvements and compete on an equal basis.
Q. How does SGET solutions differ from the general IoT product base?
SGET technologies solutions for industrial applications target a wide range of appliances while providing numerous interfaces in a compact format. For example, SGET-derived products can be deployed at the edge as data concentrators and gateways and can be configured for any of the devices and protocols used in remote, low power, intelligent applications. To complete the link from edge to cloud, SGET recently launched Universal IoT Connector (UIC) – a software-only specification to enable any embedded hardware to exchange data between embedded devices and a cloud-hosted infrastructure using MQTT or XRCE. UIC acts as the glue between embedded devices, sensors, actuators and any cloud service available under open source licensing.
Q. What will be the benefit for an OEM to become a member of this forum?
We encourage all companies working in the embedded technology space to join the SGET and contribute their ideas and efforts for open specifications and standards. Membership gives the company a seat at the table in shaping the next generation of embedded technologies that will benefit users all over the globe and help to improve industries, economies and the lives of millions.
SGET members will have the following privileges too:
- Influence new specifications
- Use SGET logos, trademarks and specifications
- Display their products and company on the SGET website
- Network and collaborate throughout the embedded community
Q. How can a firm become the member of this trade technology forum?
The SGET general membership application form can be downloaded from our website (https://sget.org/how-to-become-sget-member). From this page you can also download our Bylaws and IPR policy rules as well as the SGET Standard Development Team (SDT) rules. The application form is short and simple – just fill in and return the signed document by fax or email to the SGET office. Member fees are 900 Euro per year. Fees are used to cover the cost of the SGET organization. Working group (SDT) membership fees are additionally 500 Euro per group per year. Group fees are available within the working group for specific work group activities (i.e. simulations).
Q. Once enrolled, what will then be expected from this member -as a form of compliance?
No SGET or SDT member is required to do anything, and participation is voluntary. However, only SGET members are permitted to use SGET logos on their products and advertising. So, the implicit expectation of our members is that they seek to cooperatively advance the mission of the SGET. Only in this way the benefits of open technologies could be achieved and widely shared around the world.
Q. Can design houses of India also become a member?
Of course! There are no geographic restrictions to SGET membership.
Q. Who will be the primary beneficiary of this forum accomplishing its mission – OEMs, system integrators or customers?
We operate in an ecosystem characterised by robust competition in free markets. The greater the participation within this ecosystem, the higher will be the benefits for all in various forms – leading edge technologies for developers and integrators, multiple sources of supply for OEMs and virtually limitless solutions for end customers to differentiate their offerings at competitive pricing.
Q. Can this forum be positioned as a cartel by non-believers?
Quite the opposite! By embracing open standards and open markets, the SGET reduces barriers to competition and thereby ensures that SGET-derived products are price competitive.
Q. What powers does the executive team have over its members to seek compliance, if any?
Compliance is important to the users in order to achieve the interoperability they are seeking. Nevertheless, there is no overhead structure or costly lab approvals to ensure a seamless integration of competitive products. Keeping the cost to the user in mind, SGET decided to focus on the mechanical and electrical interfaces and offer design guides to support compatibility to the maximum extent without having to involve a lab and certification.
Q. If some members pursue the goals half-heartedly, will it risk lowering the value of those who are supporting it full-heartedly?
Up till now this has not been an issue as the companies with poor support or conformance to the standard are known in the market. The leading companies take this effort seriously and therefore set the expectation high. This was also recognised by the users and all of the SGET standards have a high level of trust in the industry. The SGET internally regulates the quality and integrity of our standards by requiring that revisions to a standard or initiating a new standard requires the agreement or initiative of at least three independent voting members.
Q. What would be your message to the CXOs of OEMs of products that may be suitable to join this forum?
The main benefit of being an SGET member is having direct access to the architects in leading embedded companies working on future products and services. This is a place to challenge product ideas with market demands and to understand technology developments in the future earlier than others.
Q. What would be your message to design engineers and R&D personnel who are assessing the advantage of using brands/products that are part of this association?
For design engineers this is a good place to be if they want to have an impact on future technologies and leverage the tribal know-how of their standards teams to create and enter new markets early. In most cases, companies need to combine forces with other companies to overcome market entry barriers. Especially in small markets like the embedded market, it is a constant challenge to get enough visibility on new innovations and successfully launch them in this market place. Making the right decision earlier is vital to the success of new developments and will help in becoming the early innovators. In SGET, we bundle these new developments and ensure that they find a broad acceptance among our members.