AT&T, Cisco, GE, IBM and Intel announced the formation of the Industrial Internet Consortium, an open membership group focused on “breaking down the barriers of technology silos to support better access to big data with improved integration of the physical and digital worlds.”

The consortium is designed to enable organizations to more easily connect and optimize assets, operations and data to drive agility and unlock business value across all industrial sectors, according to the organizers.

An ecosystem of companies, researchers and government agencies is emerging to help drive adoption of industrial Internet applications, a foundational element for speeding up adoption of the Internet of Things, IIC says. IIC is a not-for-profit group that aims to take the lead in establishing interoperability across various industrial environments.

The groups’ charter will be to encourage innovation by using new and existing industry use cases and creating test beds for real-world applications; delivering best practices, reference architectures, case studies, and standards requirements to ease deployment of connected technologies; influencing the global standards development process for Internet and industrial systems; facilitating open forums to share and exchange real-world ideas, practices, lessons, and insights; and building confidence around new and innovative approaches to security.

“We are at the precipice of a major technological shift at the intersection of the cyber and physical worlds, one with broad implications that will lead to substantial benefits, not just for any one organization, but for humanity," Janos Sztipanovits, E. Bronson Ingram distinguished professor of engineering and director of the Institute for Software Integrated Systems at Vanderbilt University, said in a statement. “Academia and industry understand the need to identify and establish new foundations, common frameworks and standards for the Industrial Internet, and are looking to the IIC to ensure that these efforts come together into a cohesive whole.”