While 15 vendors have joined forces to develop a standard for connecting home appliances to commercial Internet services, the absence of Microsoft from the line up has shed doubt on the initiative's chances of success.
The Open Service Gateway (OSG) will enable Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to provide consumers and home offices with new types of services such as remotely controlling heating systems or the ability to monitor security remotely.
And because the OSG technology does not require a PC to run, it could potentially open up a new market for ISPs in PCless households that have intelligent, Java enabled appliances.
But analysts were sceptical about the initiative. Patrick Hee, industry analyst with Frost & Sullivan, said: ?You have a lot of the major corporations involved in this [initiative}, but missing from the list is Microsoft. Off the top of my head, I?d say that means there is a pretty good chance this will not succeed.?
Greg Blatnik, vice president of Zona Research, also said: ?They have to recreate with Java everything that already exists in another universe.?
The OSG?s aim is to come up with a specification that defines a ?service gateway,? which is placed between the home network and the Internet and is likely to run on a dedicated device, similar to a set top box.
It will run on top of Sun?s Java programming language and Jini, Sun?s recently announced networking technology, will be supported as an option.
The group also plans to create a reference implementation of the spec and counts among its members, Alcatel, Cable & Wireless, Electriciti de France, Enron Communications, Ericsson, IBM, Lucent Technologies, Motorola, Network Computer Inc. (NCI), Nortel Networks, Oracle, Philips Electronics, Sun Microsystems, Sybase, and Toshiba.
Supporters claim the technology will complement existing home networking standards, including Bluetooth, HAVi (Home Audio-Video interoperability) and Microsoft?s Universal Plug and Play (UPnP).
A draft specification will be published in May under Sun?s Java Community Process and is expected to be finalised this summer.
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