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(Nikkei BP Group)

(No.1 High-Tech News Site in Japanese)

  • Toshiba, Hitachi, Others to Test Home Network Standard
  • January 28, 1999 (TOKYO) — The Echonet Consortium, which aims to set a standard for home networks based on electrical power lines and wireless facilities, said it will conduct a trial on interconnectivity of home appliances in December 1999.
    Toshiba Corp., Hitachi Ltd., Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. and Mitsubishi Electric Corp. are expected to participate in the trial.

    The objective of the trial is to reduce power consumption by effectively controlling home electric appliances via standard power lines and wireless facilities.

    For example, the consortium hopes to make it possible to switch air conditioners on and off as they sense human movements as well as maintain an optimum temperature in each room by exchanging information among multiple air conditioners connected to a network.

    Each company will produce, on a trial basis, air conditioners and lighting equipment conforming to the ECHONET standard. Also, they are expected to verify the practicality of the standard by interconnecting appliances made by various companies.

    They will perform a trial to ascertain if applications using OpenPLANET, an electrical power line-based home network developed by Shikoku Electric Power Co., can work well on the ECHONET. The test is scheduled for a duration of about two months.

    A total of 68 companies in Japan, including home electric appliance makers, computer makers, electric power companies, gas companies, security companies and others, are participating in the Echonet Consortium.

    Member companies will be able to give comments on the proposed standards prepared by the Technology Committee through the end of March. A final proposal is scheduled to be announced in December 1999, and in 2002 the group intends to implement the standards.

    The scheduled trial is in line with the 1998 next-generation digital infrastructure application technology development program. The program is organized by the Information Technology Promotion Agency (IPA), an extra-ministerial body under the auspices of the Ministry of International Trade and Industry.

    Related stories:
    Standards for Home Appliance Network to be Set in 1999
    Home Networking Becomes Reality

    (Nikkei Multimedia)

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