HomeGrid Forum: Our year in review 2017

By Dr Len Dauphinee, HomeGrid Forum President

The past year has been a great one for HomeGrid Forum – we have achieved so much! Reflecting on the past five months as President has reminded me of all the great work we have been doing and planning for 2018 and beyond. Here are some of our highlights from 2017.

This year, the HomeGrid Forum has been headed by two different Presidents. In July, my predecessor Donna Yasay stood down after two successful years as head of the Forum. Donna played a huge role in the success of G.hn, and notably drove device certification, which contributed to the total number of certified devices reaching 26, from 11 different vendors around the world.

Before Donna stepped down from her role, we welcomed China Telecom Shanghai Research Institute to the HomeGrid Forum. This was a significant moment for the Forum, as it not only symbolizes the huge potential of smart connectivity solutions in China and the APAC region in general, but it also highlights the role of standards organizations. The expansion of our membership has continued throughout the year, with MaxLinear joining our Board of Directors, and Telebyte joining the Forum in November.

Over the past 12 months, HomeGrid Forum has been showcasing the power of G.hn around the world at industry events where we have given presentations, appeared on panels, and networked with some of the leading industry figures. The range of events that we have attended around the world, and the number of speakers we have put forward from members across the board, is a testament to the truly global nature of the work we are undertaking and the reach we have as an organization.

At the start of the year we attended the IoT Tech Expo in London, where David Thorne of BT represented the Forum as part of a panel on interoperability, which provided a great opportunity to share our latest whitepaper on coexistence and interoperability in a mixed PLC environment. The paper explained the importance of differentiating between coexistence and interoperability. For example, interoperability in networking technologies is key so different chipsets can send and receive data between each other. Coexistence, however, is necessary to solve the problem of devices using different, non-interoperable technologies on the same physical network segment.

In March, AT&T’s Tom Starr joined a panel: ‘As IoT in the consumer sector experiences wireless crowding, are backbones the key to survival?’ at the Internet of Things North America (co-located with Connected Cities USA) in Chicago. This session provided a great opportunity to discuss the role of G.hn as a reliable infrastructure and network backbone, which is arguably key for the IoT, and what that means (interconnected, data-hungry devices, all around the home).

With speaking commitments all over the globe, in April, Xingtera’s Yuqing Niu delivered a presentation called ‘G.hn: The Ultimate Smart Home Backbone’ at SMAhome Expo in Taiwan, while Ken Lowe of Sigma Designs spoke at the IoT Summit in San Francisco. In May, Xingtera’s Wei Wu and Zowee’s Chen Wei discussed HomeMesh at CommunicAsia in Singapore, and in October I delivered a presentation and sat on a panel at Broadband World Forum (BBWF) in Berlin. During BBWF, I discussed why smart home networking needs mesh connectivity to support the demands for seamlessly wired and wireless connectivity that services the entire home. The rise of home mesh has been one of the biggest developments over the year, and is a trend we expect to continue in the future. While wireless connectivity has largely been the focus of consumer connectivity, we are seeing a shift within the industry, as manufacturers consider the role of both wired and wireless connectivity to achieve the overall goal of unlimited connectivity inside, and outside, the home.

In September, as part of the Shanghai Smart Home Technology event, we organised a G.hn industry seminar, which included representatives from; China Telecom Shanghai Corporation, Sigma Designs, Huawei, Xingtera, Allion Labs, and MaxLinear. One key message resonated throughout the seminar: G.hn has all the required features of the ideal smart home connectivity solution of the future. Particularly as it is interoperable, secure, future-proof, and is readily available now.

We have achieved great success this year, our membership has expanded around the globe, and the promotion of G.hn has increased. As the industry continues to focus on new and innovative solutions to ensure unlimited, seamless connectivity, we strongly believe G.hn will stand out as the Gigabit home networking technology of choice.

I look forward to the year 2018, to the opportunities it will bring the HomeGrid Forum, to the growth of G.hn and the benefits it can offer users around the world, and I look forward to driving the Forum forward. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our members, as our achievements and success would not be possible without their continued support.