Broadband Communities

MAY-JUN 2014

BROADBAND COMMUNITIES is the leading source of information on digital and broadband technologies for buildings and communities. Our editorial aims to accelerate the deployment of Fiber-To-The-Home and Fiber-To-The-Premises.

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74 | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | | MAY/JUNE 2014 BROADBAND APPS diferent companies. UPnP-certifed devices on existing home networks provide a platform for interoperable communication and can easily bridge networks, allowing utilities and service providers to communicate via a private IP backbone with their customers. Te UPnP Certifcation program is benefcial to all technology companies, from chipset vendors and consumer electronics manufacturers to application providers and service operators. Consumer electronics manufacturers and application providers beneft from UPnP Certifcation as consumers increasingly look to purchase devices and software with the UPnP Certifcation mark and logo. Te UPnP Device Control Protocol (DCP) standards provide a suite of protocols for home network devices to automatically discover one another, retrieve operational parameters, configure themselves and host a service that other control points can use. Tis means that applications such as Skype have the ability to open ports in a residential gateway to allow the successful delivery of high-quality video and content among homes. UPnP technology has standardized the way devices in a network can talk to one another. For instance, via UPnP, a display can fnd a media server, present a movie overview and play back a selected movie. Tis is essential, but there is still more to be done. Te proliferation of next-generation services leaves some users fipping among a multitude of isolated applications or frustrated at the lack of support. Consumers expect a level of service that includes reliable delivery of content. Te lack of certifed standards makes it difcult, if not impossible, for manufacturers and service providers to innovate around the user experience and provide seamless services. Plug and play means exactly that: If a device does not play, then the consumer will unplug. THE ROLE OF SERVICE PROVIDERS AND MANUFACTURERS Te connected home has become somewhat of a battleground for device manufacturers, network suppliers and service providers, all of whom want a piece of the market. However, to ensure device-to-device communication and simplifed network implementation, they must all work together to create an interoperable ecosystem. For service providers, the connected home platform provides an opportunity to ofer new services in digital homes. Te growing demand to view content on multiple devices, as well as the growth in home-produced media, presents competitive challenges as well as growth opportunities. By exploiting their existing strengths, such as an established presence in homes, a trusted billing relationship and customer support functions, service providers look to UPnP Certifcation to ensure that their customers can maximize the accessibility and portability of their services throughout their homes. Consumer electronics manufacturers focus on consumer needs and expectations and are leading the way in UPnP Certifcation adoption. Most manufacturers understand that, in this heterogeneous and increasingly densely connected environment, UPnP Certifcation and compliance give users and retailers confdence in the interoperability capabilities of their products. Most major vendors have already invested in UPnP technologies as a core component of their products, taking advantage of UPnP Forum resources that include development tools, ecosystem, testing and certifcation. Vendors like the fact that processes for interoperability testing and certifcation are well‐established and that UPnP protocols provide a neutral platform for facilitating interoperability. Such a platform enables applications such as energy management, energy data communication and device discovery to operate across diferent networks of home devices. Tese features ease the transition of existing or proprietary energy networks to the newer, IP‐based, smart-grid networks of the future. Expanding on UPnP technologies' capabilities to bridge to other ecosystems, recent extensions to the Power System series of Device Control Protocols (a rich set of power systems interfaces) are now also available for vendors and manufacturers. SUMMARY Consumers have more options available than ever to interconnect and enjoy digital content throughout their homes without boundaries. Tis trend will continue as more products become fully connected. Standards level the playing feld. However, all industry members need to work together to ensure reliable interoperability and enhance the consumer experience as never before. Consumers expect a set of standards to be in place. Tey also want information to help guide them through the buying process. Tis will encourage the industry to view the connected home as a single market entity. UPnP Forum continues to pave the way for UPnP devices and services within connected homes, driving the technologies and standards for device interoperability and simplifed implementation. Trough its specifcations and certifcation program, UPnP Forum brings players together to achieve cross-industry cooperation to facilitate advances in connected digital homes. Recently, the Forum expanded its eforts with the creation of its UPnP+ initiative. UPnP+ is aimed at delivering new technical capabilities to enhance networked functionality and meet the increasing need for always-on services. v Alan Messer is vice president of UPnP Forum; Clarke Stevens is a board director, technical committee chair and task force chair of UPnP Forum; and Wouter van der Beek is a UPnP Forum board director and compliance committee chair. UPnP Forum is the global standards body that has paved the way for seamless connectivity among billions of devices. Established in 1999, the Forum has more than 1,000 member companies and organizations, including market leaders in computing, printing and networking, consumer electronics, home appliances, automation, control and security, and mobile products. BBC_May14.indd 74 5/29/14 9:19 AM

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