About us

Emerging technology is already transforming the way we produce goods, services, and experiences, allowing more people to join in the design and fabrication process.

But what would the future of production look like if we could reconfigure it from scratch? What if we could build a sustainable system that was globally networked, but locally executed?

Who we are

We are a global alliance of people and organizations who believe in a future of production defined by decentralized manufacturing and shared knowledge. We are building a foundation to enable this future, a world where people can quickly create and fabricate products made from a combination of locally sourced materials and global designs.

Groups currently represented in this community cover hardware design, design sharing platforms, manufacturers and manufacturing associations, maker and fab lab communities, assistive technology, disaster relief, international development, and open science hardware.

Governing council
The IoP Alliance was built on work supported by
The IoP Alliance is supported by

What we do

We are building open infrastructures that enable anyone, everywhere, to participate in production.

Our main focus areas are:

  • Open standards and protocols - We are developing the open standards and protocols that are necessary for an internet of production that supports decentralised supply networks
  • Practical & accessible knowledge - We gather and share information on how decentralized manufacturing can work in practice, both to inform our work on standards and to pave the way for a future of decentralized production.

More information on what we do can be found on our Initiatives page.

Why we do it

We believe that the future of production lies in decentralized manufacturing based on shared knowledge, allowing us to  deliver products faster, made from locally sourced materials and with less ecological impact.

Slow and Inefficient supply chains

Innovations throughout the 20th century introduced many productivity and technological improvements, leading to the global mass manufacturing system we have today.

These global supply chains work really well for getting mass produced items to mass markets. But they are not effective at getting exactly the products people want, when and where they want them, all over the globe. They have many drawbacks, not least hidden vulnerabilities and high ecological impact.

Flow of goods and materials in the 20th century

Shifting to Global Knowledge

The 21st century is a century of knowledge and globalization. Latest IT and advanced engineering enable us to share knowledge instantly across the globe.

By introducing decentralized manufacturing based on shared knowledge, we can deliver the right products where they are needed, faster, with lower ecological impact.

Flow of data in the 21th century

How we do it

We bring together people and organisations interested in creating this future of decentralized production, to define and document open-source tools that can then be implemented by anyone in the world.

We currently have two main modes of operating:

  • Working Groups - Bringing together experts and interested parties in particular fields to contribute on a topic. To date we have created and published two Open Data Models. Each was written by a different global working group after a 6-month plus, openly documented collaborative process.
  • Collaborative Projects - Getting involved in real-world projects that test new approaches, implement open standards, and otherwise contribute to the sum of open knowledge about how decentralized manufacturing can work in practice. Such projects are executed by members but the Alliance plays a role in ensuring the learnings are captured & disseminated.

The founding members of the Internet of Production Alliance defined a set of principles for how we work towards creating the future we want to see. We refer to them in everything we do:

Trustworthy
Equitable
Evidence-based
Accessible
Citizen-centric
Resilient
Sustainable
Adaptable
Pluralistic

Our history and milestones

May 2021
Launch of Open Know-Where standard

Formal launch of Open Know-Where Standard after initial trials in Uganda [link to initiatives/OKW]

January 2021
Starting Electronic Components

Start of the Open Know-How: Electronic Components standard development process. Find out more

September 2020
First version of Open Know-Where standard

First version of Open Know-Where standard released following 10 months of community consultation

August 2019
First version of Open Know-How standard

First version of Open Know-How standard released. Find out more

July 2019
Formation of IoP Alliance

Internet of Manufacturing summit in Warsaw, Poland led to the formation of the Internet of Production Alliance.

July 2018
Trial of Distributed Contracting System

Blockchain based Distributed Contracting System was trialled in Kathmandu, Nepal

August 2018
Fab13 symposium

MakerNet took part in the Enabling Ecosystems panel at the Fab13 symposium in Santiago, Chile. Fab13 website

April 2018
Africa OSH summit

Engaged with the AfricaOSH community on distributed manufacturing at the summit in Kumasi, Ghana. Follow AfricaOSH

February 2017
MakerNet event

MakerNet event on Health Innovations held at Gearbox, Nairobi, Kenya

October 2016
MakerNet pilot

Five organisations came together to start the MakerNet pilot project in Nairobi, Kenya

May 2016
First presentation of IoP Alliance

First public airing of ideas behind the IOP Alliance was at re:publica in Berlin, Germany. Recording available here