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Consortium bridges heterogeneity gaps for the 'Interconnected Home'

Berlin, 29 August 2003

HomeNet2Run at IFA 2003 press release word-document - 228 kB


BERLIN / IFA, August 29, 2003 - The consortium of the ITEA HomeNet2Run project today announced that it is demonstrating a range of solutions that turn the "Interconnected Home" vision into reality. The demonstration will be held at IFA in Berlin, Hall 5-3, booth no. 8.


"After two and a half years of dedicated work addressing some complex challenges, it can truly be said that a milestone has been reached in the quest to realize the 'Interconnected Home' vision," said Frank Van Tuijl of Philips Research, who heads the HomeNet2Run project that is backed by consortium members who include prominent names in the world of electronics and research.


The huge European-wide effort to close the major gaps created by heterogeneous solutions and thus move a step closer to the interconnected home, has now come to fruition. HomeNet2Run has successfully built bridges between different wired-network (e.g. Ethernet and IEEE 1394), wireless-network (e.g. IEEE 802.11 and HiperLAN2) and middleware (UPnP and HAVi) clusters, enabling room-to-room and home-to-home connectivity of the PC and consumer-electronics worlds. The collaboration places European companies in the consumer, telecommunications and IT industries in an enviable position to exploit the many opportunities presented by combining the previously distinct areas of broadcast, Internet and telecommunications services.


"HomeNet2Run has proved that heterogeneity in digital home networks, which we will live with for some time to come, need not necessarily lead to complex system behaviour and handling, but can be made invisible to consumers by appropriate bridging technologies that effectively glue together the world's most popular standards in the wired and wireless domains," explained Van Tuijl. In successfully developing an interconnected-home architecture that supports innovative user scenarios, the project looked critically at various European standards, for instance, HiperLAN2, DVB (Digital Video Broadcast), and MHP (Multimedia Home Platform), and contributed significantly to their improvement. Other standards, such as IEEE 1394, HAVi and UPnP, were all extended appropriately.


User benefits


Anywhere in the home
Mobility is a major benefit resulting from the project. For example, any content can be moved around the home without being limited to the device in any particular room. Within the interconnected home, audio/video streams will be transferred via wireless links to portable devices such as web pads and personal digital assistants.


"Currently you can only listen to sound from your CD-player or watch video on your recorder in the same room," said Van Tuijl. "We now demonstrate that home devices need not limit people's freedom to roam around their homes. You can watch TV in one room and continue watching the same program in another room on a different device. Moreover, we show how the home network lets people control devices from anywhere in the home."


At any time
"In anticipation of broadcast-quality TV becoming deliverable to homes over broadband IP networks, wee show how people can watch TV programmes at any time, and how they can interrupt (pause and resume) a live TV broadcast, to take a phone call for example, without having to miss anything," continued Van Tuijl. "You can also get assistance in selecting your favourite TV programmes and other content from the past, present or future, while accessing it from either a PC or other consumer device." The project even demonstrates a version where the TV programmes are automatically cached in the access network so that people don't have to remember to record programmes on their recorders anymore.


Even between homes
People who want to share content with those who are in different homes will not be disappointed either because audio and video content can be shared between homes using interconnected-home devices such as TV sets and IP phones in combination with a high-speed Internet connection. "Suppose you just came back from holiday and you want to show your pictures to your best friend. We have worked out a practical solution that links your home devices via public networks to devices in another home so that you can share audio and video content and view it simultaneously," said Van Tuijl.


HomeNet2Run now demonstrates key aspects of the interconnected-home architecture, including: HiperLAN2-based wireless connectivity, broadcast and on-demand video over IP, and bridging across Ethernet and 1394 networks, where the achievement of vendor interoperability means complete freedom of choice regarding equipment supplier.


About HomeNet2Run


The HomeNet2Run project was launched in 2001.Consortium members include leading names in the worlds of electronics and research: Philips, Thomson, Sony International, Grundig, Canon, Deutsche Telekom, ATLINKS, STMicroelectronics, dZine, IMEC, PIMC, Jabil, CiaoLAB Technologies, CEFRIEL, Fraunhofer IIS, Technical University of Eindhoven. The website is located at www.homenet2run.org.


About ITEA


Information Technology for European Advancement - ITEA - is Europe's premier cooperative programme for pre-competitive research and development in embedded and distributed software.


ITEA, which was launched in 1999 as an eight-year EUREKA (Europe-wide network for market-oriented industrial R&D) strategic cluster programme, supports coordinated national funding submissions, issues annual Calls for Projects, evaluates projects and helps bring research partners together. ITEA plays a prominent role in European software development with some 7,300 person-years of R&D invested in the programme so far.


ITEA-labelled projects build vital middleware and prepare standards, laying the foundations for the next generation of products, systems, appliances and services. ITEA projects are industry-driven, involving complementary R&D from at least two companies in two countries. The programme is open to partners from large industrial companies, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), as well as public research institutes and universities.


Founding companies include Alcatel, Barco, Bosch, Bull, DaimlerChrysler, Italtel, Nokia, Philips Electronics, Siemens, Thales, and Thomson, later joined by the European Federation of high-tech Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). These firms are all leaders in their field, whether in automotive, telecommunications, mobile communication, consumer electronics or information technology.


For more detailed information on ITEA visit: www.itea-office.org.

Note to the editor:

For further information, please contact:


Anne van der Linden
ITEA Office
Tel: +31 (0)40 247 5590
Fax: +31 (0)40 247 5595
Email: [email protected]