ABB, Bosch, Cisco, LG to Create Home Automation Software Standard
Four major tech brands, ABB, Bosch, Cisco and LG, sign a memo of understanding to create a new platform for smart homes. What is the CE industry not doing right to let it come to this?
Four large multi-national technology companies - ABB, Bosch, Cisco, and LG - have set up a consortium to provide a software platform for smart homes. The companies have now signed a memorandum of understanding to this effect. The plan is subject to approval by the antitrust authorities.
The big question for the consumer electronics industry is why do these four major manufacturers feel the need to create their own home automation platform? What ingredients are missing from the current landscape that organizations like CEA and CEDIA need to be working on vs. allowing this to happen?
Under the memorandum, the parties intend to develop an open architecture for data exchange. The software platform would allow diverse devices and services to interoperate, and to exchange information with each other. Application software distribution will also be enabled. This will allow appliances and devices made by different manufacturers to be part of home automation, security, healthcare, and entertainment services.
A common platform such as this has not been available up to now, making it a challenge for appliances and devices – light switches, motorized roller blinds, washing machines, multimedia equipment, smartphones, and tablets – to communicate with each other or to simply exchange information over the internet in a standardized way. The common platform is one more step toward the Internet of Things for the home, in which physical objects will be networked.
The software platform is intended to make the standard available to all manufacturers, software developers, and service providers. It is intended to unite diverse services in areas such as energy management, security technology, and convenience and consumer electronics. This will enable new business models: software developers, for example, will be able to develop diverse apps for these areas. And in the future, end-users wanting to have automated control for their electronic appliances in residential buildings will no longer have to choose between different technologies.
“Let’s take our homes into the Internet!” says Dr. Stefan Hartung, member of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH. “An open standard for data exchange is the basis for this. At the same time, our innovative and beneficial services can improve quality of life in the homes of the future, and allow us to use energy efficiently, safely, and comfortably, both in our homes and our cars.”
“This consortium represents an opportunity to bring together a variety of business ecosystem partners, all working together to help make the Internet of Things for the home a reality,” says Jesper Andersen, senior vice president and general manager, Cisco Service Provider Video Software & Solutions Group. “Cisco is looking forward to participating in the consortium and creating a standard that allows consumers to experience a connected home.”
“This consortium is a solution that maximizes collaboration and customer value,” says Byunghoon Min, senior vice president, Convergence R&D Laboratory, LG Electronics. “LG Electronics will present never experienced smart home life to customers by creating synergy within the consortium.”
Once these open standards have been developed, the parties’ aim is that these compatible appliances will communicate with each other over radio networks such as WiiFi, ZigBee, and other wired connections like KNX. A central control unit in the building manages all the individual appliances, and also creates a secure internet link. Any control unit can perform this function, regardless of manufacturer, provided the unit runs on software that satisfies the relevant standard.
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Jason Knott is Chief Content Officer for Emerald Expositions Connected Brands. Jason has covered low-voltage electronics as an editor since 1990, serving as editor and publisher of Security Sales & Integration. He joined CE Pro in 2000 and serves as Editor-in-Chief of that brand. He served as chairman of the Security Industry Association’s Education Committee from 2000-2004 and sat on the board of that association from 1998-2002. He is also a former board member of the Alarm Industry Research and Educational Foundation. He has been a member of the CEDIA Business Working Group since 2010. Jason graduated from the University of Southern California. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Jason at firstname.lastname@example.org
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