Connected device boom demands user services focus

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Increasing demands for faster, more efficient and more reliable ways to manage connected devices will make 2021 the year of service and device lifecycle management, according to open broadband standards development organisation the Broadband Forum. Broadband Forum’s User Services Platform (USP) standard offers related data models and the communication protocol to master such needs.

The rapid growth of Internet-connected devices in the home has accelerated owing to the increased amount of time people have had to spend at home during the pandemic. A major new study has highlighted that the number of installed connected devices is expected to rise by a further 70 per cent by 2025. Similarly, spending on smart home systems is expected to rise to a projected $157 billion worldwide by 2023, for example.

“Given that we expect the rapid rise of connected devices in the home to continue this year and beyond, our recent survey report emphasised that the number of users and vendors utilising USP continues to increase too,” said Broadband Forum Chairman of the Board and Co-Director of the Broadband User Services Work Area John Blackford. “The Broadband Forum will be responding to this focus on user services by making regular updates and developments to the USP. We are already working on the next versions of the Device:2 root data model (TR-181) and the USP standard to add new functionality and further solidify USP as the go-to interoperable ecosystem for the Connected Home.”

As a reference implementation, the Broadband Forum’s Open Broadband – USP Agent (OB-USP-Agent) project aims to increase the number of new USP deployments per year. By providing a functional and free open source implementation of the USP standard, interested parties can easily understand USP, try it out in a USP deployment or use it as a foundation for their own protocol implementations. Jointly developed by device and infrastructure vendors as well as operators it serves as a golden standard and helps prove the quality of USP and supports further standard developments. Impressively, the number of new participants in the OB-USP-Agent project team has risen by more than 60 per cent in the last 12 months.

“Because it evolves the success story of TR-069, builds on a decade of device management experience and puts open standards into practice, the USP reference implementation is really a building block for vendors to use,” said Axiros CEO Kurt Peterhans. “Its latest developments will allow vendors such as ourselves to accelerate and to bulletproof their own USP solution developments. This will help unlock the potential of the Connected Home and enable operators to capitalise on the IoT market.”

With an increase in the number of connected devices comes a rise in the importance of remote management and updates for devices and Wi-Fi management. New standards in the home such as Wi-Fi 6, coupled with new technologies extending IoT capabilities such as 5G and gigabit-fibre deployments, are adding to both the challenges and complexities for the service provider in the Connected Home. The pandemic has also highlighted the growing need for increased automation for operators seeking to reduce the costs associated with sending technicians to install or reconfigure a device.

“We recognise the importance of utilising USP and open broadband as it ensures the easy integration of productised solutions to our overall offering and allows us to reap the benefits on offer,” said Jason Walls of QA Cafe and Chair of the Broadband Forum Connected Home Council. “The increase of user and vendor participation in the Broadband Forum’s Open Broadband – USP Agent project team further underlines the breadth of participation from across the industry and highlights the importance of the work being conducted.”

The OB-USP-Agent project recently published its Canary release, making it easier to develop value-added services, improves remote device management security for operators, and enables integration of third-party software and services into existing gateway platforms. Work has also started on OB-USP-Agent’s Dunlin release (Release 4), with a scope to include the completion of ‘Controller Trust’ support, the OnBoardRequest, and the ScheduleTimer mechanism.

 


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