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Home systems standards: achievements and challenges

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1 Author(s)

"Home systems" is a new consumer products industry. The market potential is very large, although the market has been evolving very tenuously. What is certain is that consumer demographics favor more conveniences for busy families and devices that assist those with physical limitations. Products based on home systems technology will serve both of these market segments. A variety of consortia and authorized standards bodies have been writing specifications for residential networks to provide a communications infrastructure for home systems and connections to external networks. This strategy of defining an infrastructure to support a nascent market is unusual. However, it offers the opportunity to specify a network without backward compatibility constraints, so often a requirement when upgrading and standardizing existing networks. This article addresses the fundamental question: has the home systems industry been successful in writing and adopting standards that promote industry growth? In part, the emergence of the home systems industry is a work in progress. Nevertheless, important standards and consortia programs have been developed since the mid-1980s. Some of the prominent achievements in home networks are reviewed. This article concludes that a clean slate offered by an undeveloped market is an advantage to standards writers. However, there needs to be a strong impetus to enter a potentially thriving market in order to motivate the standards writers to target and complete their work expeditiously. Otherwise, the writers will invest too much time perfecting their work, rather than making pragmatic compromises

Published in:

Communications Magazine, IEEE  (Volume:40 ,  Issue: 4 )

Date of Publication:

Apr 2002

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