Residential gateways and home networking may just be finding their way into consumer consciousness, but there already is a long list of home networking communications protocols. Bringing all of these disparate home networking standards and initiatives together is the mission of OSGi, or Open Services Gateway Initiative. The group recently announced a compliance program sponsored by the consortium.
The group launched the OSGi Compliance Program at the Connections 2002 Conference & Expo, and established a framework to allow consumers to identify OSGi service platforms that have passed the testing required for certification under the OSGi Service Platform Release 2 specification. A number of OSGi-compliant products are expected later this year.
The OSGi specification unifies various communications protocols through an open, platform-independent framework, and via APIs that can be used as the basis for writing new applications. The spec enables compatibility between most major home networking protocols currently being developed: Bluetooth, CAL, CEBus, HAVi, HomePNA, HomeRF, HomePlug, Jini, LonWorks, UPnP and VESA, to name a slew.
There are a few movements afoot to bring unity to the home networking world, most notably the CableHome initiative at CableLabs Inc. CableLabs recently released the CableHome 1.0 specification, which included technical information for gateway provisioning, diagnostics and security features. In the past, the CableHome group has expressed interest in some of the work OSGi has completed, specifically with regard to middleware specs from OSGi that allow for loading and executing applications that use secure authentication. But so far, no synergy between the two groups has been announced.