The AllSeen Alliance has unveiled a smart home standard interface for controlling and monitoring smart appliances and entertainment devices in the home, but without the participation of Google and Apple, both of which are pushing their own interface. Also absent was Samsung, which has stressed openness as a key feature of its smart home products.
The alliance says its Home Appliances and Entertainment (HAE) Service Framework will allow devices such as air conditioners, air purifiers, air quality monitors, ovens, refrigerators, robot vacuums, washers and TVs to be controlled by a common set of interfaces so that users can achieve a seamless and uniform experience across manufacturer and brand of their home appliances or devices.
The framework is an output of its Smart Spaces working group. Major contributors to the framework were Electrolux, Haier, Honeywell, LG Electronics, Lowe’s, Panasonic, Sharp and Sony. According to the Alliance, “These members have identified a minimum set of operations across devices to enable control and monitoring capabilities regardless of vendor.”
The framework is based on AllJoyn, an API framework developed by Qualcomm but later turned over to the Linux Foundation as open source software. The AllSeen Alliance was created to promote and develop the framework.
From Apple it’s HomeKit
Apple, meanwhile is pushing its HomeKit technology, which it describes as “a framework for communicating with and controlling connected accessories in a user’s home..” Apple says: “You can enable users to discover HomeKit accessories in their home and configure them, or you can create actions to control those devices. Users can group actions together and trigger them using Siri.”
In May Google announced Brillo, an “underlying operating system for the internet of things,” along with an IoT protocol, Weave. A Google spokesman said: “”The result we’re aiming towards with Brillo and Weave is a consistent, easy experience for users with devices that work well together.” Brillo and Weave were due to be released to developers in Q3, so information is scant at present.
Meanwhile, at the IFA show in Berlin, Samsung unveiled the second generation of its smart home hub, based on technology from SmartThings, a company acquired by Samsung in 2014. In the UK and the US, the company is already promoting a range of smart home devices based around the SmartThings Hub.
At the CES show in January, Samsung CEO BK Yoon, said: “Five years from now, every single piece of Samsung hardware will be an IoT device,” and he committed the company to openness in its IoT products.
For Samsung, openness is key
The IoT experience “has to be seamless,” Yoon said. “We must not have walled IoT gardens. We can deliver the benefits of IoT only if all sensors and all devices will greet each other. We need to collaborate across industries.”
“Samsung’s president of UK and Ireland Andy Griffiths, speaking at the IFA show, said: “We have a different philosophy for our IoT vision, not hidden behind a walled garden, but open and interoperable with many devices.”
Openness was a key feature of SmartThings. According to Wikipedia, “SmartThings created an open ecosystem of developers and inventors producing new types of connected physical objects and unique applications in the cloud that can control and automate how everyday objects work.”
Today, the Samsung SmartThings web site lists 160 products compatible with the SmartThings Hub and claims it is “compatible with more connected products than any other smart home company.” However, were unable to find anything suggesting what underlying standards, if any, are uses to deliver this compatibility.