Under a memorandum of understanding ABB, Bosch, Cisco, and LG aim to set up a consortium to provide a software platform for smart homes – subject to the approval of the antitrust authorities.

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.

A common platform such as this has not been available up to now, according to a statement from Bosch – 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.

Under the standards that the consortium intends to establish, and that would be available to all manufacturers, appliances would be connected to a home gateway, which itself would be connected to the internet and a software platform. In this way, the services of different providers can interoperate.

Once these open standards have been developed, the four companies’ aim is that compatible appliances will communicate with each other over radio networks such as WiFi, 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.

“Let’s take our homes into the internet!” said 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.”

The software platform 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.

Open-RB2