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UPnP extends reach toward cloud, IoT

Posted: 12 May 2014     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Universal Plug and Play Forum  Internet of Things  cloud  WiFi LAN  wide-area network 

The Universal Plug and Play Forum (UPnP) is set to unleash a new set of specifications and software later this year, reaching further into cloud services and the Internet of Things. UPnP+ will expand beyond the group's traditional work on devices using Internet Protocol on WiFi LANs to create bridges to wide-area networks and non-IP devices.

The specs and open-source software for it, now in a 60-day review period, should be released on a royalty-free basis before the end of the year.

"Today there's not a good standard for accessing devices across any network, but UPnP is working on it," said Alan Messer, a Samsung researcher in San Jose who is vice president of UPnP.

"The main problems we see are lots of proprietary protocols that don't help anyone in developing ecosystems, we also see lots of proprietary islands," Messer said.

UPnP+ supports a product concept of a sensor bridge. The small, low-cost device can store and translate data from a variety of IoT devices that use protocols such as Ant, Z-Wave and early versions of Zigbee that don't support IP.

Other devices such as a smartphone can also implement the bridging and storing functions, linking the relatively simple IoT devices to WiFi networks and devices that run existing versions of UPnP code.

The UPnP+ Cloud Architecture uses XMPP, widely used in instant messaging services, to link to wide-area networks. However, it will not support, at least in its initial implementation, competing IoT protocols such as MQTT supported by services from IBM, Xively and others.

UPnP+ was demoed using home automation devices

UPnP+ was demoed using home automation devices working together in Asia and Europe over a cloud service.

A variety of other protocols and initiatives, including the AllSeen effort at the Linux Foundation aim to unify the fragmented Internet of things. Messer said UPnP will consider support for other protocols as its members request it.

"The MQTT protocol hasn't been proven at such large scale as XMPP," Messer said. "Some say [MQTT is] less chatty, but we think for an M2M device it's not so chatty and we see XMPP as more proven," he said.

UPnP+ includes a host of enhancements including support for IPv6, capabilities for discovering cloud services and new grouping/pairing capabilities. It also makes mandatory energy management and security features that were previously optional for gaining UPnP certification.

Messer said he expects the Digital Living Network Alliance will adopt the UPnP+ specifications. UPnP has 1,015 members. Its steering committee includes representatives from Cable Labs, Cisco, Intel and ZTE.

UPnP chose XMPP as the basis for its WAN services

UPnP chose XMPP as the basis for its WAN services.

- Rick Merritt
  EE Times

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