Microsoft, Compaq, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Philips, Siemens, Sony, Thomson, And Others Establish Universal Plug and Play Forum Steering Committee

REDMOND, Wash., Nov. 2, 1999 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the formation of the Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) Forum Steering Committee, which will set the agenda, technology focus and guiding principles for the Universal Plug and Play Forum. The UPnP Forum was established in June 1999 to drive the emergence of a new generation of easily networked devices based on open Internet-based standards and protocols. The steering committee members include Axis Communications, Compaq Computer Corp., Echelon Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co., Honeywell Inc., IBM Corp., Intel Corp., Matsushita Electric Industrial Company Ltd., Mitsubishi Electronics America Inc., Panja Inc., Philips Electronics, Siemens AG, Sony Corp., Thomson Multimedia SA and Microsoft.

“The creation of the UPnP Forum Steering Committee is a significant milestone in industry collaboration toward defining device communication standards, helping make it easier to communicate any time, any place and on any device,”
said Craig Mundie, senior vice president at Microsoft.
“We are excited to be working with these industry partners to bring new UPnP-enabled products to market.”

“As the role of the traditional PC evolves into one of the new devices that offer innovative and satisfying ways to make their lives more productive, our customers expect products that are easy to use, simple to connect and effortless to network,”
said Tony Dowzall, general manager of Consumer Desktops at Compaq.
“UPnP makes it easier for us to deliver products that achieve this, and that’s why we’re excited to be working with Microsoft on this important initiative.”

One of the initial objectives of the steering committee will be to establish working committees to define the manner in which devices will be supported and how they will communicate. For example, consumer electronics companies Philips Electronics, Sony Corp., and Thomson Multimedia will work with Microsoft and other UPnP Forum member companies to develop UPnP specifications for audio-visual device connections on home networks. A goal of this effort is to connect networks of UPnP and Home Audio/Visual interoperability (HAVi) level-one devices using open, Web-based standards. This will help ensure cost-effective, cross-platform interoperability without dependence on proprietary programming languages, operating environments or other technologies. Other working committees will examine topics such as communications and networking, imaging and home automation.

Universal Plug and Play Forum

The goals of the Universal Plug and Play Forum are to enable the emergence of easily connected devices and to simplify the implementation of networks in the home and corporate environments. The Forum will achieve this by defining and publishing Universal Plug and Play device control protocols built upon open, Internet-based communication standards. Consumer interest in home networking is increasing as PCs, information appliances and the Internet play a larger role in day-to-day activities such as entertainment, communication, education and shopping. Making it easier to network a variety of devices in the home will spur consumer adoption and thus market growth.

“The Internet has changed the world, and now that change is coming to the home,”
said Deb Massof, vice president, Honeywell Home Vision.
“Pervasive digital communication networks enabled by UPnP will connect advanced systems in the home to enable new services and capability that enhance comfort, health and safety. UPnP will allow Honeywell to deliver products that are easy to install and expand, helping to simplify users’ lives.”

Pragmatic Approach to Simple Networking

Universal Plug and Play will make connecting multiple devices easier by building upon existing standards and technologies without requiring the replacement of the existing infrastructure. Home networking is one of the new market opportunities simplified and enriched by UPnP and the work of the UPnP Forum. Some of the advantages of Universal Plug and Play follow:

  • Standards-based. Universal Plug and Play is designed using proven and easy-to-implement Internet standards. Individual network and bus implementations will build on the protocols already in place.

  • Network media-independent. Universal Plug and Play technology is independent of the physical network media. It is compatible with any type of existing network, such as 10BaseT Ethernet, and new networking technologies that do not require the difficult and costly installation of new wiring in existing homes.

  • Broad scope of device types. Universal Plug and Play encompasses all types of networked and traditional peripheral devices, including PCs, home entertainment systems, new smart appliances, home automation systems, networked peripherals and Web-based services, without a centralized server to manage the devices.

The result of this pragmatic approach is that implementing Universal Plug and Play requires very little work and an extremely small amount of system resources and footprint. The UPnP Forum plans to deliver its first device protocols in 2000. More information on joining the UPnP Forum is available at the Forum Web site, .

Broad Support for Universal Plug and Play

Many companies are supporting the Universal Plug and Play Forum’s goal to help define solutions that simplify device interconnectivity standards and networking of intelligent devices. A list of supporters is available at .

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