CES Report: Technicolor Bids to Unify the Connected Universe
New Qeo product offers a challenge to the DLNA approach to connecting everything from smartphones to smart fridges
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Technicolor has devised a means of unifying IP-connected products from smartphones to smart fridges, in or out of the home.

Dubbed Qeo and aimed at telecom and IPTV operators, the new product has been developed to open up the full potential of the connected home to a mass  audience.

Previously, it has been extremely challenging and expensive to make IP-connected products using different operating systems work together within a single ecosystem.

Qeo provides a common "language" that enables all connected devices, applications, and services talk to one another, explained Benoit Joly, Global VP of Marketing.

“It exchanges information that can be used by applications via a very simple communication framework,” he said.

Qeo comes as a set of software libraries that can be compiled with the chipset firmware, the device drivers, or the application software, or it can be bundled with the operating system.

It comprises a communication bus (described as relying on a “military-grade” implementation), and a data model that device manufacturers or software developers define for their need. There is no client/server architecture, rather an automatic discovery of devices which have have implemented Qeo, with the ability to access device data.

Joly explained: “Today’s consumer experience is fragmented, which makes for a non-user-friendly connected home proposition. For example, to introduce new features to a connected ecosystem it is necessary to develop multiple apps for each of the operating systems, Android, Windows, iOS etc., used by the fixed or mobile devices within the home. This makes for a disparate and siloed connected home experience that is not compelling for the user and not an easy sell for the operator.

“Alongside connected TVs and mobile devices, the proliferation of connected devices that make up the 'Internet of Things' generate masses of data. In theory all this could be brought together to create new types of really useful, relevant services. Until now [with Qeo] hese devices cannot 'talk' to each other unless you enter each one’s proprietary world.”

Technicolor devices implementing Qeo have already been deployed by at least five European operators. A developers’ alliance program will be launched in Q1, giving developers access to the development kit to embed Qeo within their software.

Asked how the technology differs from DLNA, Joly said that Qeo provides a robust communication bus to “ensure interoperability across a much broader range of implementations.”

Data models can be created for any device or application, from chipset via sensors to fridges to TVs to applications or cloud infrastructure.

“While DLNA provides a recommendation for implementations, each one can create potential issues and the certification tries to address these by providing a common scale,” he said. “Qeo, on the other hand, offers a set of libraries, which will be maintained by Technicolor for the long term to ensure permanent interoperability.”

The core Qeo modules are being provided as open source to encourage adoption.

“We certainly hope Qeo will become the new industry standard for building cross-device, cross-ecosystem services, and we will actively be promoting it as such,” added Joly. “We firmly believe that Qeo will ultimately make consumers’ digital lives easier and more coherent.”