Microsoft Enables Unified Standard for Home-Control Networking

CHICAGO, June 21, 2000 — Microsoft Corp. today announced it is working with General Electric Co. (GE) and other industry leaders to converge existing home-control initiatives to enable a unified standard for lightweight home-control networking. This convergence effort represents a significant milestone for consumers and manufacturers of consumer devices because it will enable product interoperability between existing and future home-control products from Microsoft, GE and other leading consumer product manufacturers. The initiative will help accelerate the adoption of affordable and innovative home-control products.

In support of these convergence objectives, today at the Home Automation Show and Conference in Chicago, Microsoft demonstrated an early version of the Simple Control Protocol (SCP), a lightweight, royalty-free networking technology for devices such as smart appliances and home-control products. SCP is optimized for devices with limited memory and processing power and for networks with low bandwidth, such as the inexpensive, ubiquitous power line carrier (PLC) medium.

“We are very excited about this first step toward convergence,”
said Jeff Goodman, manager of Residential Products at GE Industrial Systems.
“Manufacturers such as GE have been awaiting a common standard for lightweight home control so we can offer exciting new products and services that will improve the lives of our customers.”

The Simple Control Protocol is complementary to Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) technology. SCP is designed to seamlessly bridge the capabilities and usage scenarios for UPnP networks to networks and devices not capable of supporting TCP/IP, such as low-speed PLC networks commonly used for home control. UPnP and SCP together will enable consumers to control their entire home from one logical network, from the simplest smart devices, such as light switches, to the most sophisticated consumer electronic devices. SCP devices will use standard UPnP device models, making it easy to build simple, high-fidelity bridges between UPnP and SCP devices and services on networks of virtually any media type. This close relationship between SCP and UPnP ensures that any SCP device is Internet-ready.

“SCP bridges the open, Internet-based UPnP model to very low-cost devices,”
said Jon DeVaan, senior vice president of the Consumer Group at Microsoft.
“SCP is an enabler that allows UPnP to encompass a complete spectrum of household products.”

SCP, developed with the feedback and collaboration of industry leaders, will coexist with and enable convergence of the existing CEBus standard and Home Plug & Play™
specification. The CEBus Industry Council has voted unanimously to converge home-control efforts with UPnP and SCP. In addition, SMART LLC and Domosys Corp., leading manufacturers of integrated home-control products with considerable expertise in the CEBus standard and Home Plug & Play specification, will be key contributors in enabling convergence around SCP.

“SCP is a major breakthrough for the home-control industry and will accelerate innovation of new and exciting products,”
said Herman Cardenas, president, CEO and founder of

“By converging existing standards into SCP, we will remove confusion in the marketplace and provide our customers with greater confidence because CEBus products of today will work with SCP products in the future.”

ITRAN Communications Ltd., Mitsubishi Electric Corp. and Domosys are actively developing SCP-enabled PLC networking chips. With SCP embedded in an inexpensive networking chip, manufacturers can rapidly build and bring to market devices with power line networking and the SCP protocol built in. The first implementation of SCP will be available embedded in a power line networking chip next year. Domosys will also provide tools and support services to developers and manufacturers that plan to integrate SCP and UPnP into their devices.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.

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The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

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Rachel Jackson, Waggener Edstrom, (503) 443-7000, [email protected]

Rapid Response Team, Waggener Edstrom, (503) 443-7000, [email protected]

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