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Interoperability Initiatives

Precision Agriculture
March 10, 2020
Self-Sovereign Identity
March 10, 2020

Interoperability Initiatives

Interoperability and data portability could eventually lead to new business opportunities and a bigger device ecosystem.

Key Insight

Amazon, Apple, and Google use different operating systems for their various devices and ecosystems, which some regulators argue is anti-competitive.

Why It Matters

Lawmakers have threatened to break up big tech companies, but there may be less disruptive ways forward that involve increasing interoperability amongst these firms.

Examples

A bipartisan group of lawmakers led by Senators Mark Warner (D-VA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Josh Hawley (R-MO) proposed a new bill to encourage competition by making big tech’s platforms interoperable.

The Augmenting Compatibility and Competition by Enabling Services Switching Act (or ACCESS, for short) would require Google and Facebook to maintain API-like interfaces so that users could port their information over from one platform to another if they want, and so that smaller companies could more easily make use of our data. (With our permission, of course.)

Meanwhile Apple, Amazon and Google joined the Zigbee Alliance to develop a shared connectivity standard allowing hardware from different companies to work together.

What’s Next

Incentivizing companies to make their protocols and hardware interoperable could help curtail some of the antitrust probes the big tech firms will face this year.

The Impact

Interoperability and data portability could eventually lead to new business opportunities and a bigger device ecosystem.

Watchlist

Amazon, Apple, Google, Facebook, U.S. government, Zigbee Alliance.