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Open IoT alliance to tackle smart, connected LEDs

Oct 7, 2014 — by Eric Brown — 1,197 views

The open source AllSeen Alliance, which is standardizing IoT built around Qualcomm’s AllJoyn platform, has launched a Connected Lighting Working Group.

The Linux Foundation announced the AllSeen Alliance last December to promote Qualcomm’s cross-platform AllJoyn open source project for Internet of Things interoperability. Since then, the Allseen Alliance has launched a number of working groups, the latest of which is a Connected Lighting Working Group.

The new working group “will develop ways for IP-enabled, multi-color and energy-efficient LED light bulbs to work in creative new ways with each other and things,” says the organization. The group is developing an AllJoyn-based Lighting Service Framework (LSF) for integrated smart LEDs with devices including televisions, home security systems, home appliances, smoke detectors, and door locks.

Lighting Service Framework architecture
(click image to enlarge)

With the help of AllJoyn, which furnishes discovery, security, and interoperability technology, the LSF will enable new levels of interoperability between connected devices and lights, says the group. It will also provide third-party app developers a framework for discovering and controlling lighting using devices from multiple manufacturers.

“Lights need the ability to proximally discover one another and other things regardless of brand, platform or OS,” stated Marc Alexander, CTO at smart lighting company an AllSeen Alliance member LIFX, and the Lighting Working Group’s chair. “That’s why there is a strong need in the market for a connected lighting framework based on open standards.”

Smart light bulbs and lighting systems are a cornerstone of the new wave of primarily Linux-based home automation systems . Increasingly low-cost smart LED bulbs and lighting devices such as the LIFX bulbs, the Philips Hue, and GE’s Smart lights, enable control of individual or groups of lights based on a user’s preference, mood or activity. Allseen cites a TechNavio forecast projecting a 36.4 percent annual growth rate for the connected lighting market between 2013 and 2018.

The Allseen Alliance aims to standardize the proprietary schemes provided by different lighting vendors and home automation hubs. Examples of features that will be enabled by LSF include the ability to group lamps together and control their hue, saturation, brightness, and color temperature to match preference or mood. LSF would permit the personalization of lighting to individuals’ tastes and preferences by setting lighting “scenes”, and the ability for users to add lighting effects like pulsing lights for notifications purposes.

Some more specific examples provided by Allseen for potential smart lighting interactions include:

  • A smart doorbell could flash the lights indicating that someone is at the door.
  • A smart home security system could strobe the indoor and outdoor lights in the event of a security incident and turn on a camera to record live video.
  • A video game on a mobile device or console could make the lighting interactive with the gameplay.
  • A wearable baby monitor could pulse the family room lights to indicate that the baby is waking from a nap.

The initial LSF architecture is comprised of a Lamp (smart bulb) Service, a Lighting Controller Service, and sample applications for Android and iOS. Further along, a Lighting SDK will be added for Android and iOS. Much more detail is provided in the LSF link below.

On Sept. 23, the Allseen Alliance announced it had grown to 71 members, nearly tripling its member base in nine months. Premier members now include Electrolux, Haier, LG, Microsoft, Panasonic, Qualcomm, Sharp, Silicon Image, Sony, Technicolor, and TP-Link. There are a number of smart LED manufacturers in the group, in addition to LIFX, but the group has yet to sign up some heavyweights like GE and Philips. Last month, however, a partnership between GE Appliances and Local Motors called FirstBuild joined the AllSeen Alliance as a Community Member.

Other Allseen working groups are devoted to the issues of Analytics and Telemetry, Base Services, Certification and Compliance, Core, Data-Driven API, Developer Tools, Gateway Agent, and Smart Home. The group has also released version 14.06 of the open source AllJoyn framework.

Further information

The first applications from the Connected Lighting Working Group are expected by the end of the year. More information may be found at the Connected Lighting Working Group page at the Allseen Alliance website.

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