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IBM and AMD join Microsoft-led home standards group

Windows for lightbulbs gains general acceptance, apparently. And why does Compaq join everything?

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The battle to set standards for smart devices in the home has become even more fiendishly complicated with the news that a clutch of 28 "participants" including AMD, IBM and Diamond Multimedia have added their support to the barely-known Home API Working Group. Home API was formed to general disinterest last October, the promoters (ie. the ones who actually call the shots, as opposed to the participants) being Compaq, Philips, Mitsubishi, Honeywell, Intel and Microsoft. The group is working to develop a common programming interface for computer control of home devices, and says its goal is "to accelerate the development and deployment of computer controlled home devices including consumer electronics, security, lighting and temperature control systems". Windows for lightbulbs? Bet your bottom dollar that we’re talking Microsoft standards here. The final approved version of the spec is due by mid-year, with an SDK implementing the APIs on Windows shipping shortly afterwards. Home API will, the Working Group claims, complement Home Audio/Video Interoperability (HAVi), will interface with CEBus and Home PnP (a relation of Universal PnP?). It will also be capable of interfacing with Sun’s Jini, but is being pitched as being better because "Jini requires all devices to speak the same Java-based protocols [whereas] Home API provides a way to integrate simpler devices that speak arbitrary protocols into a unified control environment". What we need now is some kind of Working Group that provides a mechanism to integrate all standards-setting bodies proposing arbitrary protocols into one huge, totally transparent pile. ® See also Sun signs Sony, Philips to bring Jini into the home

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