Introduction

eQ-3 is European market leader* in home automation with millions of devices in the market, e.g. as OEM supplier for four of the five largest utility companies in Germany. This know-how forms the basis of Homematic IP and is available via developer kits, modules and licenses for software and device developers as well as OEMs.

Development of Homematic to an open system

Nine years ago, Homematic started as proprietary and closed solution by eQ-3. It did fit with the current state of the market at that time, but has changed considerably since then:

  • More than four years ago, eQ-3 has already published all programming interfaces without limitations online so that Homematic can be easily integrated into other solutions and platforms (as, for example, QIVICON).
  • In March 2015, eQ-3 has published the entire Homematic Central Control Unit CCU2 software including a “RAND-Z” license on the Internet. This allows every user to use, supplement or change the software flexibly with eQ-3 hardware or any other hardware for private or commercial purposes - without paying license fees.
  • The Homematic protocol is public on the Internet. Meanwhile, there is a large number of protocol implementations that do not come from eQ-3. One example is the company Kärcher. Furthermore, there are also open source implementations.
  • eQ-3 supports the Homematic “community”, e.g. by organising an annual two-day Homematic Users Meeting.

The Internet of things will be based on TCP/IP

eQ-3 has committed to the vision, that TCP/IP will be the leading technology for the Internet of things as well as for smart home. Also, the Internet of things will be using TCP/IP in each device -and not only for gateways.

On the other hand, this means that all technologies and ‘standards’ that do not use TCP/IP in all devices would have to change completely in order to be recognised as important standard - or that most of them will completely disappear in the future.

With a solution based on IPv6 that is particularly easy to install and to configure, very robust and reliable while offering a high range within the house, sets standards in terms of security and privacy and, at the same time, is especially cost-effective. In this way, eQ-3 already provides the basis with Homematic IP for realising compelling, competitive and future-proof smart home solutions.

The eQ-3 experts assume that a continuous standardisation in smart home can not be achieved based on the currently used radio standards. Therefore, the existing “camps” are already too large. This is corresponding with the last 30 years of standardisation in tele- and data communication.

Accordingly, eQ-3 has not only integrated IPv6 into devices but also started different activities to be able to achieve the next generation of radio technology for the smart home - applying to the field of radio technology that is still not available with WLAN.

Homematic IP - The next smart home generation

Homematic IP is the customer-oriented next generation of Homematic. The open platform consisting of protocol and devices already utilizes IPv6 in each device and is therefore ideally prepared to drive Internet of Things.

  • Simplicity: The entire solution is intuitively set up and comfortably controlled via smartphone app. Configuration of single devices is performed by the Homematic IP cloud service. Thanks to the radio communication of the devices, houses can be easily retrofitted.
  • Reliable radio protocol: Homematic IP is - just like Homematic - based on the 868 MHz band offering permanent bidirectional communication (i.e. with confirmation of wireless commands). Homematic IP works with multiple frequencies and is therefore suitable also for larger installations. The main radio channel at 868.3 MHz can be used more efficient which offers additional capacity for wake-on-radio as well as for firmware updates of devices (OTAU).
  • Excellent range and interference immunity: Interferences by WLAN networks can not occur. The system is highly reliable thanks to its superior range and the implementation of the established Homematic application protocol. Improvements of the MAC layer increase the performance without reducing the range or robustness. The patented triple-burst wake-on-radio further improves on the battery operation and avoids high loads of the radio channel.
  • Uncompromising security: Already during installation of the system the communication of Homematic IP is secure and can not be manipulated. During operation, all radio packages are encrypted and authenticated. Reading, changing or repeating data or other kind of attacks by third parties are impossible. Similar as in online banking, the established AES-128 and CCM methods are used.

Homematic IP is open for other manufacturers - opportunities for cooperation

eQ-3 opens the Homematic IP technology in order to support also other manufacturers in establishing new Homematic IP devices and software solutions.
Homematic IP is available in developer kits, modules and licenses for software and hardware developers as well as OEM partners. It offers an object-oriented interface for the programming of apps or other user interfaces.

Homematic IP radio modules for devices and development kits

eQ-3 will be offering Homematic IP modules for gateways/central control units as well as for devices with different construction types. Along with the modules, eQ-3 offers a Device Development Kit (DDK) containing all relevant information for developers. In addition, developer tools such as evaluation boards, exemplary software in source form and protocol analysis tool are part of the DDK. The device modules of eQ-3 are fully qualified and have a “modular approval”. Other manufacturers are usually not required to carry out the complex and expensive tests according to EN300220 themselves. eQ-3 already uses automated test tools for the development of Homematic IP devices that are already used in the automotive industry, but that are so far unknown in consumer electronics or building control. In this way, the testing depth, testing effort, repeatability and especially the quality in device development can be significantly increased.

Firmware/software without hardware

Apart from the Device Development Kit with radio modules, eQ-3 also offers the licensing of the entire firmware/software. This enables manufacturers to use the Homematic IP technology in devices without having to use eQ-3 modules. eQ-3 is working on a pragmatic and still efficient process and corresponding tools for the certification of the entire solution in order to ensure the interoperability of all Homematic IP offers available on the market.

* Smart homes and home automation study, January 2015, of the renowned market research company Berg Insight concerning so-called “whole home” systems.

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