What Does Home Plug and Play Mean to the Consumer

Robert Heiblim | CEBus Industry Council

CEBUS NEWS

What does Home Plug and Play mean to the consumer.
by Robert Heiblim - CEBus Industry Council

When one considers automation in the home, generally the topics of interest surround the safety, security, comfort and convenience the aspects of automation can offer. On the other hand, full house automation can be a larger and expensive task, and as we know, technological development can require features and additions unplanned for in our original ideas.

The fact is, most of us will apply automation processes in a step by step manner, choosing to automate certain subsystems as the need, desire and budget arise. The problem is, how do we assure ourselves of systems that will work together now and in the future?, and systems that will not lead us to a path that is a dead end and at some point require us to rethink our modes of automation completely?

The Home Plug and Play concept provides the manufacturer and the consumer with a method to produce products that work on the network protocols of today, and provides a path to the developments of tomorrow. By using a high order application program language CAL, HPnP devices can talk with one another regardless of the physical protocol they employ, and in fact can send and receive commands across networks of various types. This means that the consumer will not face obsolesence. This also means that a user can choose to automate lights and security today, and tie in energy management and audio/video tomorrow without worrying that their initial investments will become worthless.

Indeed, work is now being completed that will allow HPnP's CAL language to run compatibly over the Internet by tight IP connection, and through the home on networks like IEEE1394. This means that HPnP and related protocols will now be complete on all the kinds of network solutions likely to find their way into the home.....powerline, twisted pair, coaxial cable, optic fiber, ATM,ADSL, wireless and other Internet connections. However one wants to control their home, and from wherever.....at home, work, or on the road; the HPnP spec now allows this work to be done. In fact, HPnP and CEBus today provide a connectivity unparalleled by any other methodology, and yet, with a path to any.

HPnP and protocols like CEBus will allow the consumer to buy a device and "plug it in". These devices will "announce" themselves to the home network. Depending upon design, nothing more may be needed to make them work, or further programming both simple or custom may "tighten" the connections and allow complex event scheduling and control across the homes intranet.

HPnP also is ideal for running and coordinating automation from the PC. With so many homes now using computers, it is logical to see the PC as master control device, or event program control. The home computer can act as the gateway agent between remote demands on the home network, and it can send data, video or emergency requests out from the home over TP or the Internet.

In sum, Home Plug and Play means that home networks and automation will be:

  1. More affordable
  2. Forward compatible
  3. Can take a building block approach
  4. Will be easier to integrate
  5. Will work with emerging technologies
  6. Will play across all the media and networks available

HPnP means a lot to the consumer. For more information, visit us at our web site www.cebus.org and check out our some 70 member companies and their products and services. Thank you for the chance to "brush the surface" of the HPnP initiative.

If you've got information about CEBUS products please let me know (bobh@hometoys.com).


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