People, pundits and hi-tech companies have been raving about the ‘Connected Home’ for many years now. The necessary technologies were developed some time ago, and products based on these technologies are widely used in other applications: wireless connectivity, smart cards, RFID, smart lighting and more. So why is the Connected Home still not a reality?
One possible reason is the daunting array of standards surrounding each technology. This can bring compatibility issues that make smooth, system-wide interoperability a real challenge. For wireless connectivity alone the choice includes Wi-Fi 802.11 (in numerous flavours), JenNet, ZigBee (again, in several flavours), NFC, MoCA 2.0, and so on. Some standards are regional while some are designed for very different purposes, but in the end is there simply too many of them?
By offering a very broad portfolio, NXP does its best to support all popular standards and protocols, even if we do have our favourites! This brings definite advantages to the market but does not help to alleviate the problem.
The complexity of standards involved in creating smart homes was recognized as early as 2006. For example, in a white paper produced in 2006, the MoCA (Multimedia over Coax Alliance) reviewed the debate over home networking standards in the U.S. And more recently, the CEA (Consumer Electronics Association) announced it was setting up a new standards group for connected home and smart energy for North America, earlier this year.
Of course, each standard claims leadership or universality in the connected home race. However if progress is to be made, it is likely that some standards will have to fall by the wayside. Who will decide?