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Compatibility issues between services supporting networked appliances

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3 Author(s)
Kolberg, M. ; Dept. of Comput. Sci. & Math., Stirling Univ., UK ; Magill, E.H. ; Wilson, M.

In the near future general household appliances, such as televisions, refrigerators, alarm clocks, stoves, and even lights, will be supplemented with a network interface connecting them to the Internet. Homes are being equipped with such networked appliances to allow a more convenient way of living. Such extensive automatic control of appliances leads to the concept of the smart home. Behind such automation, there is a lot of software controlling the appliances. This software, often referred to as services, applications, or bundles, is supplied by a range of service provider businesses. Hence, in a single home, appliances may be controlled by a multitude of services offered by a wide variety of different providers. Moreover, some services may require the use of other services. Importantly, these businesses are completely independent and may not even be aware of one another or their products. Hence, appliances may be controlled by more than one service, and indeed these controlling services are often trying to achieve different goals. This causes compatibility issues that need to be resolved for networked appliances to be successful in the mass market. This problem is well known in telephony and historically is referred to as the feature interaction problem. This article discusses the issue of compatibility between services in a home environment. Reasons why and how services interact are discussed, and a taxonomy of interactions is presented. Finally, an approach is presented that prevents interactions. The approach presented uses accepted and known device and protocol interworking techniques. Throughout the article a number of example scenarios are used to illustrate the issues. However, the emphasis of the article is not only to present sample services for controlling home appliances or identify specific interactions between such services, but to find a general solution to the feature interaction problem that can automatically detect interactions between services in the home.

Published in:

Communications Magazine, IEEE  (Volume:41 ,  Issue: 11 )