Seems to be quite a common phrase, now a days. But, is it really something new? We’ve been using automation as a tool for quite some time now. In fact, we moved from using tools to machines for ease of use way back during industrial revolution day or what we know as “renaissance” in modern history.

So what’s the difference? We need to understand the evolution stages, something like Darwin’s pictorial view? The advent of machines for easing the labor we indulge into naturally for getting things done, started way back in history during early man ages or what we call as the Stone Age. We made levers, pulleys, wheels, inclined etc. Then we had the Renaissance Age, when we learnt to build compass, human anatomy, wings, fans etc. Afterwards there came an age of Industrial Revolution, when the engines were made. And then in 20th Century we started the concept of automation – The industrial automation, where the machines worked for machines which were operated by humans.

Now taking the Industrial automation to home, is what we call IOT – Internet Of Things.

The challenges

The moment we talk of home automation, one thing which comes as the biggest bottleneck is – standardization. Like we have standards in data networking with all manufacturers making equipment’s on open standard of IP, as defined by IEEE, unfortunately in consumer electronics, we don’t have such practices. An IFB washing machine could be very different from a Samsung machine, a whirlpool AC could be very different than a carrier AC. In commands, in operations, on remote etc.

Thus the biggest challenge in bringing all these consumer electronics goods like AC, geysers, microwave oven, OTG, refrigerators, generators, dish washers, washing machine, TV, surveillance cameras, door control, wireless routers, set-top-box, internet TV, home theatre systems etc. on one single network is – one common standard.

For this, now there is a standard from IEEE. It’s IEEE 1905, which eventually CE manufacturers would start following. Good part is, many data networking companies, which are working in this sector, have already started developing solutions on this latest standard.

The 1905 standard

IEEE 1905.1 is an IEEE standard which defines a network enabler for home networking supporting both wireless and wireline technologies: IEEE 802.11 (marketed under the Wi-Fi trademark), IEEE 1901 (HomePlug, HD-PLC) powerline networking, IEEE 802.3 Ethernet and Multimedia over Coax (MoCA).

The IEEE P1905.1 working group had its first meeting in December 2010 to begin development of convergence digital home network specifications. Around 30 organizations participated in the group and achieved approval of the draft P1905.1 standard in January 2013 with final approval and publication by IEEE-SA in April 2013.

The IEEE 1905.1 Standard Working Group is sponsored by the IEEE Power Line Communication Standards Committee (PLCSC).

Benefits

The benefits of 1905.1 technology include simple setup, configuration and operation of home networking devices using heterogeneous technologies. Leveraging the performance, coverage and mobility benefits of multiple interfaces (Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Powerline and MoCA) enables better coverage and throughput in every room for both mobile and fixed devices.

Standardizing the use of multiple networking technologies to transmit data to a single device in a transparent manner enables powerful use cases in home networks:

  • Increase the capacity by load balancing different streams over different links.
  • Increase robustness of transmissions by switching streams from one link to another in case of link degradation.
  • Better integrate consumer appliances with limited network connectivity (powerline only) and high end network devices (typically Ethernet only) into a common network accessible via 802.11ac and 802.11n for appliance control and media streaming purposes
  • Unify device certification under one regime for all major networking protocols. Generally reduce the number of different devices required and permit storage, processing and user interface functions to migrate to purpose-specific peripherals on a 2 to 5 gigabit networked “bus” or backbone.

The Solution

A solution was showcased during Broadband World Forum Europe (BBWFE) 2014 from October 21st to 23rd 2014, in the Netherlands.

A Smart Home Suite . These include powerful features like automated smoke, flood and intrusion detection, as well as home energy management and remote heating and lighting control, creating a truly comprehensive set of tools with the power to make automated digital living a reality.

Products like the Smart Home Solution create value for a wide range of customers, including leading Telecom companies to create better offering in their suite of services. However, many Telco are yet to discover this range of solutions. Even the real estate companies can add smart home & IoT services to their maintanence  contract for the towers. and as the concept of smart cities mature, the municipal corporations and the city development authorities / town planning departments can also add this as a part of service.

It’s not something new, but it can open a lot of new avenues to a lot of industries.