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One-Net Open Source Software Ready For Wireless Home Automation

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.

5 Responses to “One-Net Open Source Software Ready For Wireless Home Automation”

  1. Sorry for being late to the party and I have to keep this short as I’m in the middle of sever things.

    First let me say that the Linux Home Automation project isn’t based on X10 as much as were stuck with X10. X10 is a terrible protocol (it hasn’t aged gracefully) and today we need a lot more from out home automation protocols. On the power line side we have Insteon and UPB. On the wireless side we have Z-Wave, ZigBee and I really hope we see Open-Net. I have some nice TI ez430 dev boards that I may attempt to implement using Open-Net. Also I’d like to add that Bluetooth may have it’s place in all this mess and may not overlap the other wireless protocols (though there are a lot of areas where it does).

    I think we’ll always see a mix of wired protocols (power line technology and wired ethernet) and wireless protocols (WiFi, Bluetooth and ZigBee).

  2. I think cheaper wireless networking product would be a sure hit. In the future even traditional items that are wired would become unwired. The reason is simple. People tend to depend on machines more on their healthy limbs.
    If the whole house gets automated, I don’t have to leave the chair to turn of the TV, open the door, turn on the microwave…you think anybody would refuse that? If people can afford it, they are sure to welcome it.

    Vanessa @ Future trends in automation

  3. I agree, Stacey, that it’s quite possible none of the existing standards will be widely adopted. I’d say, however, that energy management is a big driver in this market that COULD make or break one of these standards — if a critical mass of PUCs, utilities and related vendors (like thermostat manufacturers) actually follow through on their many stated plans to install “smart” meters, thermostats, etc.

    If this doesn’t happen, I’m not sure that the home automation market will get past the fractured lack of standards that has hampered mainstream adoption of these products for what seems like forever…