updated 08:05 pm EDT, Fri April 27, 2012
Microsoft HomeOS now deployed in 12 test homes
Microsoft has published a new white paper (pdf) on its Microsoft Research site detailing how its HomeOS would work to make home-automation a reality. To explain its concept, Microsoft's researchers frame the HomeOS as being a 'PC-like abstraction' for in-home devices. In this paradigm, consoles, routers, PCs, printers, smartphones, air conditioners and light, for example, would all appear to the HomeOS as peripherals connected to a central interface.
Although Microsoft has built operating systems that are not Windows-based, and the HomeOS project has been built using C# and the .Net 4.0 Framework, the white paper does not say whether it has been derived from the Windows OS. The kernel of the HomeOS is 'agnostic to the devices which it provides access, allowing easy incorporation of new devices,' while the HomeOS runs on a gateway PC dedicated to home-automation.
According to the paper, Microsoft Research has been testing the HomeOS in 12 homes over the past several months and that 42 of its students have built new apps and facilitated support for additional home devices. The apps are available for installation on users' home gateway PC through an app store portal known as the HomeStore.
Although still a research project, the project has been in development since mid-2010 (pdf), which suggests that Microsoft sees that the concept may have commercial viability. The latest white paper does not reveal any commercial plans, but is further evidence that Microsoft is seriously pursuing the concept.
As the HomeOS platform is device agnostic, it would seem that if the project is successful, the dream of properly integrated and managed home automation may be on the horizon. [via CNET]