Echelon Inc, the company formed by Rolm Corp co-founder Kenneth Oshman to design and market a message-passing local operating network to link various operating devices (CI No 1,069), now expects to deliver a very low-control and communications network within a year. The Los Gatos, California-based company claims that under the system household items such as air conditioners and coffee makers will be controllable from a central point; its local operating network offering will incorporate custom microprocessors at each node and, according to the Microbytes Daily newswire, the company has completed protocols and node-controller architecture for the local operating network. The company claims that under the system which works across existing mains wiring or with dedicated cabling, or with a mix of the two – customers will be able to change the components of the system by using a hand-held key-pad and English-like commands. Microprocessors will be sold to manufacturers on an OEM basis, and Echelon hopes they will substitute Echelon’s controllers for their own electronics. And Ohsman and his colleagues claim to have pre-empted future competition: Echelon claims its system will support the standard of the Electronic Industries Association, which is due to exhibit its own interference for linking heating and security systems and home entertainment products in January.
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