Why Wi-Fi, MoCA, HomePlug Alliances Share a Booth at CES
What better way to drive home the point that homes need to have multiple ways of transmitting signals than to show cooperation with a joint exhibit at CES 2013.
Imagine Ford, GM and Chrysler sharing a booth at an auto show. That’s what it’s like seeing three competing home automation/networking technology Alliances - Wi-Fi, Multimedia Over Coax (MoCA) and HomePlug - sharing a 20x50-foot booth in the South Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center at CES 2013.
“We have always talked with each other and we all get along,” says Rob Gelphman, VP of marketing and member relations for MoCA. “We are all three under the Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) umbrella.”
The three Alliances, which have 650 member companies combined, represent three of the four means of carrying low-voltage signals throughout the home (Ethernet is missing). What better way to hammer the point home to integrators, consumers, builders, architects and interior designers roaming the aisles of CES that these technologies are not mutually exclusive of one another than to share a booth.
“We all just ‘send stuff’… we are like the electronic FedEx in the home,” notes Gelphman.
The connected home of today sends signals via wireless, powerline, Ethernet and coax.
Along with Gelphman, Nidhish Parikh, chairman and president of DLNA, Rob Ranck, president of the HomePlug Alliance, and Wi-Fi Alliance marketing and program management director Kelly Davis-Felner all expressed elation at being able to work together in one booth to showcase the connected home.
IEEE P1905.1 Heterogeneous Communication Standard
One helpful development guiding the spirit of cooperation is the pending IEEE P1905.1 standard that will make it even easier to deploy multiple networks in the home. The standard will automatically detect the networks at play in the home and connect to them. Even better, there is no swapping out of equipment or upgrades that will be necessary because it is a simple firmware download.
Gelphman says the three key ingredients necessary to move signals throughout the home are portability (which wireless brings), ubiquity (which HomePlug provides via powerline carrier) and reliability (which MoCA provides with shielded coax cable in 90 percent of U.S. households).
“As more devices come into the home, you are going to need to use all four methods of carrying signals,” says Gelphman. “All need to be available … you can mix and match them. There are thousands of devices using each type of communication technology and each of three primary installation channels - cable TV, retailers and custom installers - use all of them. Also, as price points continue to come down, more vendors will be offering products that communicate using multiple methods.”
Now if only the rest of the industry could learn this lesson by committing to product interoperability and acknowledging that you don’t always have to try to put your competitors out of business but can share the market.
Think that could ever happen?
Jason has covered low-voltage electronics as an editor since 1990. He joined EH Publishing in 2000, and before that served as publisher and editor of Security Sales, a leading magazine for the security industry. 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 is currently a member of the CEDIA Education Action Team for Electronic Systems Business. Jason graduated from the University of Southern California. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Jason at [email protected]
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