[Japanese | Thesis | Researches in Minoh Lab | Minoh Lab]

A Method for Appliances to Provide Services with Synchronized Collaboration in Home Network

Home appliances designed for limited purpose are very useful for consumers with its simple and optimized user interface. But functions in the appliances are poorer than ones in the PCs, and are not replaceable.

Suppose the case that many appliances are connected each other in home network, services, which are highly integrated with such functions, can be composed by combining appliaces. In this paper, we propose a method for appliances to provide services with synchronized collaboration based on shared events or time stamps in home network.

With the rapid progress of current information technology, appliances become much easier to connect each other using recent network technology, and there are many activities for standardization on specifications about home network. Most of all the specifications are mainly focused to a solution to control remote appliances with PCs or special controllers. On the other hand, AMIDEN, a networked appliance architecture, is proposed to provide multiple and flexible services that are constructed by connecting various type of networked appliances (NA) which have just a single or a few functions and which are able to share the functions with peer-to-peer connection on the home network.

In the AMIDEN architecture, if a user want to use a service, the user has to operate the appliance which must be a component of the service to construct the service. With this restriction, however, the user is always required to recognize which NAs will be a part of the service in advance, and furthermore, the restriction may narrow possibility to construct various of services by assuming participation of a certain NA. In this paper, we propose the Remote Service Setup Method for remote appliances to set up a service to avoid this restriction.

In the AMIDEN architecture, information required to set up a service is described in the "Service Definition File" in XML format. The NA (Initiator) which got a request to set up a service from a user parses the file, discovers required Function Element(FE)s in the home network and set up the service with discovered FEs by connecting the communication peer-to-peer pathes(Contents Paths). In the method proposed in this paper, the Initiator may not join to the service. If an Initiator joins the service, the Initiator sets up a Contents Path to the first discovered FE. On the other hand, if the Initiator doesn't join the service, the Initiator doesn't set up a Contents Path to the first discovered FE. In this way, the Remote Service Setup Method is executed.

The AMIDEN architecture only provides protocols to set up Contents Paths. But it is impossible to control behavior of FEs minutely only with Contents Paths. In this paper, we also propose a method to control behaviour of serivices with synchronized collaboration of FEs along the common time flow or trigger events.

Synchronized collaboration of FEs is performed based on the description of "Service Scenario" in a XML file. Each NA may provide trigger events that drive methods in other NAs, and may have methods that are driven by events in other NAs. The former events are sent to the latter methods through the control communication pathes according to the description of Service Scenario. In this way, a service can be controled with synchronized collaboration of FEs.

To verify the effectiveness of the two proposed methods, we experimented on the wireless LAN network with PCs embeded the architecture that supports the two methods. As a result of the experiment, we confirmed that a synchronized collaboration of FEs were performed to control a service according to the description of Service Scenario.

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