In the past few years, “Smart home” has asserted itself as a term for technologies in residential spaces and buildings in which networked devices and systems increase comfort and security at home and allow for more efficient use of energy.
Smart Home & Living Standardization Roadmap
The private home is becoming increasingly intelligent – and our daily life is becoming more comfortable, secure and energy-efficient. The “Smart Home & Living Standardization Roadmap” covers six domains that demonstrate the current state of standardization, challenges and solutions. It is born of the participating experts who compile their experiences, ideas and knowledge into joint workshops.
The digitalization and networking of every area of human life also results in changes in the home environment that offer new opportunities for living and working at home. Smart home & living is embedded in the efforts to sustainably develop the infrastructure and improve quality of life in urban areas. This includes areas like
- the economy
- the social environment
- the living and working environment
- mobility support or
- working with authorities.
The focus of smart home & living is the integration and use of information and telecommunications technologies in the home environment which allow for a new experiential world and make familiar activities in energy management, health, home comfort, home security and information security more efficient or convenient. The crucial success factor will be interoperability, meaning, the standardization of the smart home infrastructure
What do we mean with smart home & living?
Smart home & living includes privately utilized residential and exterior spaces (owned or rented; in an apartment building or own home; existing or new construction) and thus also includes an unlimited entity of apartments with a corresponding total building size (skyscraper, residential block) as long as the private sector acts and the individual needs of the residents for home security, information security, home comfort, health and energy efficiency are met.
The private person is the focus with respect to the smart home. The smart building is different as a commercially utilized building in which the focus is on the building, not the people working in it. The mechanisms for interoperability should be the same in the private and commercial building.
Definition: Smart home
The following attempt at a definition can be found in Volume 1 of the series of studies on home networking from BITKOM e.V. (Glasberg & Feldner, 2008):
A number of approaches for life, living and work in the private residential sector form the basis of the terms connected home, electronic house, intelligent living, smart home, smart house, etc. What all of these terms have in common is the need to make systems available to residents that satisfy their individual needs for home comfort, home security and energy efficiency.
A smart home is thus more than a collection of individual intelligent devices:
- The needs of the residents are determined by a variety of sensors and smart devices that allow for intuitive control.
- The recorded information is processed, taking the current circumstances and the anticipation of potential circumstances into account.
- An action is executed based on the recorded information and the interpretation based thereon. A well-developed connected home network, which allows for a simple and secure interaction between consumer electronic (CE), information and communications technology (ICT), household electrical appliances (stove, refrigerator, etc.) and building technology (alarm systems, heating and light controls, etc.) via interfaces, software etc. allows for this with the help of wired and wireless technologies
Smart home & living is divided into six domains
To present the entire topic in an organized manner, it is divided into six domains. Domains refer to the user groups
- smart home infrastructure
- energy management
- home comfort
- home security and
- information security
which are used to organize the diverse and smart functions.
Certain individual functions, for instance, a roller blinds control unit, can be used in several domains: Thus, the roller blinds control unit simultaneously serves the domains “home comfort” and “energy management”. Home comfort because the roller blinds control unit can automatically adjust based on the position of the sun. This process, in turn, has a significant impact on energy management because when the roller blinds control unit sensors register enough sun, it can communicate with the lights. As a result, it is possible to automatically dim or switch off the lights in certain rooms.
For organizational reasons, these aspects are allocated to the individual domains. However, with respect to standardization, the fulfillment of the standards of all domains becomes a boundary condition for these applications and their desired interoperability.
The objectives of this standardization roadmap: Interoperability and conformity
All examinations, studies and market reports unanimously agree that interoperability is the most important topic with respect to the success of smart home solutions.
This topic is discussed in detail in the Volume 3 of the series of studies on home networking from BITKOM e.V.:
Interoperability refers to the ability of two or more systems to work together to fulfill a task by communicating via their interface. The concept of interoperability can be organized into several levels, for instance, in accordance with ETSI ETR 130:1994:
- Protocol interoperability
- Service interoperability
- Application interoperability
- User-perceived interoperability
The interoperability of the involved systems is a fundamental requirement of the networked smart home. This requires that the networked components, devices or systems can exchange data with each other without errors. This is supposed to be implemented via a uniform, technology-neutral, standardized language that establishes interoperability between the participants.
Conformity refers to the compliance of a system with the requirements defined in a specification. The compliance of the interfaces in a system with the corresponding interface specifications is a prerequisite for two or more systems being able to connect via this interface and then being able to communicate with each other.
For this reason, DKE offers all interested groups and their respective technical representatives an independent platform to develop a mutual and future-oriented standardization roadmap so all stakeholders are involved early on in the planning and creation of corresponding standards.
The Smart Home & Living Standardization Roadmap is a collection of:
- Future standards
- Areas of action for policymakers and associations
Creative dialog: Establishing mutual understanding
The first workshop for the roll-out of the new Smart Home & Living Standardization Roadmap was held in Frankfurt am Main on February 5, 2020.
More than 60 experts developed the bulk of the contents for the standardization roadmap that day. The expert group drafted a collection of ideas that complies the state-of-the-art and concrete recommendations and a time frame for developing open items.
Recommendations for action and the need for standardization are illustrated for the various perspectives, from the product itself through to the system environment. The domains smart home infrastructure, energy management, health, home comfort, home security and information security as well as, for instance, usability, accessibility and sustainability are incorporated into the standardization roadmap.
At this point, we would like to expressly thank all of the experts for their dedication.
Areas of action for policymakers and associations
During the Creative Dialog, experts from a wide variety of corporate sectors developed a number of challenges, ideas and solutions related to the standardization and consolidation goals for the further development of smart home & living for the volume market.
Ensuring interoperability across trades and technology boundaries is a major challenge in smart home & living which numerous companies organize into cooperations and initiatives or address with a variety of strategies as large individual companies.
The approaches can be divide into three primary categories:
- Individual companies with a large market presence
- Collaborations between companies that work together on the protocol level
- Collaborations between companies that work together on the data model/middleware level
Additional challenges, solutions, training requirements and political framework conditions also have to be taken into account. These are specified in the following list and will be allocated to the individual domains and prioritized by the expert groups in future workshops. This then results in specific tasks for policymakers and associations.
- Lack of reliability in operations
- Lack of trust in data protection
- Lack of trust with respect to the use of the data
- Lack of knowledge regarding the cost-benefit ratio
- Reservations (knowledge of how devices function and how they are commissioned)
- High level of complexity
- Lack of longevity and investment risk
- Unsafe devices with respect to data security
- Proprietary solutions versus interoperability
- Constant change in interoperability
Creating international standards for:
- The definition of smart home & living
- Security and the impact on safety (functional safety)
- Plug and play
- Future-proof devices
- Secure data transmission (signature)
- Data storage
- Service standard to clarify responsibilities and system boundaries
- Planners/tradespersons/support staff
- Neutral clarification and conception should be handled by associations
- Purchasing help or scalable decision-making assistance for end customers including apartment construction companies and apartment operators
- Creating reference apartments/houses
Political framework conditions
- Laws needed for the aforementioned items
- Clarification of laws on the national or European level
- Effective market observation including with regard to working with data
- Financial support for the procurement/operation of devices/systems to support environmental protection, health and burglary protection
- Reduction of bureaucracy
- Conformity certificates
Interested in additional content about Home & Building?
The focus of Home & Building is the integration and use of information and telecommunications technologies in the home environment which allow for a new experiential world and make known activities in entertainment, comfort, energy management, safety and healthcare more efficient or convenient. You can find further information about this subject area in
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