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A Protocol For Home Automation 116

jfruh writes "Marshall Rose, one of the creators of the SNMP protocol, has a beef with current home automation gadgets: it's very, very difficult to get them to talk to each other, and you often end up needing a pile of remote controls to operate them. To fix these problems, he's proposed the Thing System, which will serve as an intermediary on your home automation network. The Thing System aims to help integrate gadgets already on the market, which may help it take off."
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A Protocol For Home Automation

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 01, 2013 @01:09PM (#45301647)

  • by Vesvvi ( 1501135 ) on Friday November 01, 2013 @01:18PM (#45301783)

    Please don't re-invent the wheel unless you need to. By that, I mean to say that automation and interconnection of "gadgets" is a well-established field in industry and tech. For example, vehicle ECU and sensor systems, factory automation, and data acquisition systems are all now decades old, and we should have a really solid idea of how to do these things properly.

    Of course these existing systems aren't the same as what we're talking about here, with modules that span different physical link layers, protocols, etc. I just hope that we can take the best lessons from existing "gadget integration" attempts to make forward progress more successful and not just something doomed to rapid obsolescence.

    For some fun and background, have a look at the old HPIB/GPIB physical/protocol standard (, which was used in many different pieces of scientific equipment. When that somewhat died out it was replaced by CAN ( Agilent uses that for their HPLCs (maybe test equipment, too?), and Waters uses the same physical link, but with a different protocol? Other vendors still work with contact-closure, and USB is becoming more popular, but that pushes so much onto the host computer and really enforces lock-in.

    I will personally be watching this closely from the perspective of someone who operates a lot of data-acquisition equipment. Could this be the foundation for better interop between different vendors at the more commercial/research level, in addition to the consumer? I hope so.

  • by Anrego ( 830717 ) * on Friday November 01, 2013 @01:42PM (#45302041)

    I was really interested in home automation at one point. Had an x10 setup using an ocelot controller (x10 is a horrible, horrible system by the way and I wouldn't recommend it to an enemy).

    The novelty factor wore off eventually (and my frustration with x10 grew) and I gave up on it. Beyond automated lighting (which while cool, isn't really all that useful.. a light switch really is "good enough"), temperature (already handled quite well by smart thermostats), and appliances which handle their own automation (coffee pot), what else is there that provides any real benefit beyond geek appeal.

    And with that limited set of actual useful use cases, how much benefit is there in centralizing it, or adding voice control.

    I suspect all this is why despite having the tech to do it for quite some time, home automation hasn't really taken off.

No problem is so large it can't be fit in somewhere.