What kinds of devices/systems will be developed as a result of the Home API specification and how soon will consumers begin to see them?

Home API defines a protocol and transport independent software programming interface and software services that will accelerate the development of a wide variety of home control/automation applications and controllable digital devices. Home API will enhance the usefulness of these devices by making it easier for them to be integrated into an intelligent control system.

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As Home API is both transport and protocol independent, Home API will support both existing devices and systems, such as X-10 and CE-Bus; today’s entertainment systems using legacy consumer IR; as well as future devices and systems based around 1394 or even yet to be developed transports and protocol.

With the Home API specification expected to be completed in mid-1999, its not unrealistic to expect first products based on Home API to be available in late 1999 or early 2000..

Can you describe (in laymen’s terms) what the Home API Working Group is trying to accomplish and why?

Today, there are currently no standard APIs (application programming interfaces) for home devices, so application developers are faced with the prospect of writing all aspects of home device control from scratch, including the handling of network interface hardware and device control protocols. With Home API, the application developer can ignore these low-level details and focus instead on adding the features that provide direct benefit to the user.

Home API allows a software developer an easy way to discover controllable devices in the home, the control attributes of the devices (on/off, volume up/down, channel, time, temperature, status, etc.), and the current state of the device, and it provides the ability to modify or change the state of the device.

Why? We want to enable a broad range of next-generation software and hardware products for homes, bringing home electronics and appliances into the digital age. Software applications built around controllable home devices have the potential to add significant benefits to consumers, but an API is needed to provide a standard framework to accelerate the development of these new applications.

What is the difference between the Home API specification and Home Plug and Play?

Home API is a software interface that application developers may use to free themselves from worrying about the details of the underlying network, such as protocols and drivers. Home Plug and Play is a control protocol, describing how controllable devices talk with each other. Companies making Home Plug and Play compatible networks or devices will supply a “Home API Service Provider” for their Home PNP network and devices. This software component will enable applications written according to the Home API specification to access Home PNP devices. As with other device control protocols, Home API is complementary to Home PnP.