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Smart homes to learn common language

ABB, Bosch, Cisco, and LG aim to create an open standard for connected appliances. Creating a new consortium, the companies plan to provide a software platform for smart homes.

Open standard for the smart homes of the future.

The appliances have listened. Or, more specifically, the makers of appliances have listened. Not willing to see the nascent smart-home appliance industry get bogged down in differing sets of details, four firms have decided to focus on their similarities. ABB, Bosch, Cisco, and LG intend to develop an open architecture for data exchange. In other words, smart appliances will learn to play nice.

The companies have created a consortium dedicating to achieving this goal and have signed a memorandum of understanding to this effect. What comes next is anybody's guess, but that's kind of the point. By creating a common platform, consumers will have the confidence in knowing that devices they purchase will be compatible with their existing system as long as it falls under the umbrella. In theory this should open up development, allowing more communication between smart devices.

How far the connectedness of physical objects can be taken relies not only on the manufacturers but also on consumer adaptation. However, considering the ubiquity of smartphone use, the chances seem good for traction -- especially when things work the way they are supposed to work. Of course, ABB, Bosch, Cisco, and LG are not the only players in the smart-home market, but with the standard to be available to all manufacturers, developers, and service providers, the field is wide open. And soon, consumers will have the confidence in knowing that everyone is playing on the same field.