Just when you think you know all the flavors of home networking standards, along comes One-Net. Joining ZigBee, Z-Wave and Insteon, One-Net is another home automation standard for connecting your lights, security cameras and other home functions to one another. It, much like the existing standards, is unlikely to ever be widely adopted, but I applaud Threshold Corp. of Petaluma, Calif., for shaking things up a bit with its open-source platform to manage One-Net devices.
Threshold is the company behind One-Net, and has developed an open-source software to manage devices using the standard, to which chip companies including Texas Instruments and Freescale are building chips. The idea is to sell a One-Net router that will then communicate with a wide array of other devices such as security cameras, motion detectors and light dimmers.
It’s cheaper than existing standards, and unlike proprietary gear, you can continually add devices to the One-Net network without buying new routers or overloading the system. Which is great, but it’s still not something mainstream America will adopt.
Although One-Net chips are relatively inexpensive compared with other solutions, it needs to be built into a much wider array of day-to-day products — like thermostats or light switches — for consumers to find any reason to be excited about it. And getting companies like Honeywell or Johnson Controls involved in any home networking standard will be key.
It is, however, smart for Threshold to focus on battery-powered home products, which obviously benefit from going wireless. Why make something that requires an electric cord wireless at all? The plan is to offer a wireless security camera, door sensors, LCD monitor and a clock radio later this year that will operate using the One-Net standard. The goal is a cheaper wireless networking product for average consumers. Sure, some people will buy it, but I really doubt they’ll do it in numbers large enough to make the end market a great one for chip suppliers.