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CEA Forms Home-Automation Standards Group

Seattle — The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) formed a new working group to develop an industry technical standard to improve interoperability between home-automation devices.

The group formed during CEA’s Technology & Standards Forum, being held here this week.

 CEA said the new standard will also reduce the time and effort required to develop software applications that provide consumers with access to their home-automation devices and systems.

The new working group is called the device interoperability working group, also known as R7 WG17. Anyone with an interest in this field is encouraged to join the working group and its parent committee, the Home Networks Committee. CEA is particularly interested in adding new committee members (called “users”) who acquire home-automation products from those who create them.

CEA’s new working group will define Extensible Markup Language (XML) schema templates that a manufacturer can easily complete and post online for use by developers. The schema will include everything necessary to enable an application to monitor and control the device, including non-standard features that may not be included in standard device profiles defined elsewhere.

CEA said the standard will not require additional device firmware, enabling communications with legacy devices. Schemas that comply with this standard would ultimately be posted on a secure server hosted by the manufacturer or a third party for use by application developers and others for interoperability testing. Each manufacturer will have control over who can access its schema to ensure that only developers who meet a manufacturer’s approval criteria may download the schema, the association said.