The washing machine and the refrigerator are going to start "talking" to the television thanks to a new standard about to be published by the Geneva-based IEC. This new ability to network traditional household appliances with personal computers and audio-visual equipment will offer such possibilities as your television screen displaying the fact that the washing machine has finished washing your clothes or turning on an air conditioner from your personal computer.
The new standard links the two different communications networks established for the household appliances and audio visual equipment. These were set up separately largely because of the different product lifecycles for the fast-moving audiovisual equipment and computers compared with slower-changing household appliances which tend to stay in use over periods of several years.
This specification, Home Network Communication Protocol over IP for Multimedia Household Appliances (IEC 62457), has several key advantages:
- It can be used with existing home networking standards;
- Both Home Network nodes with TCP/IP Layer and without can coexist under the same Home Network Middleware;
- Household appliances can communicate with audiovisual equipment, PCs and PC-related equipment, and vice-versa, without requiring any gateway;
- Household appliances can handle text and audiovisual data;
- Audiovisual equipment, PCs and PC-related equipment can handle household appliances data; and
- Household appliances can freely select a suitable lower-layer medium from various lower-layer media below TCP/IP.
The new standard is due to be published in October 2007 and some products applying its specifications are now on the market in Japan.
The new specification is from the IEC Technical Committee 100, Audio, video and multimedia systems and equipment.