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Position paper: the role of platforms and operating systems in supporting home networks

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Abstract

As researchers look beyond the PC there is increasing interest in developing and deploying sophisticated home networks. Such networks might allow the seamless integration of information and services produced both within the home and externally, enabling applications such as the purchase of on-line AV content, tight coupling between kitchen sensors and "Web Van" order forms, and home remote control. From a manufacturers perspective, particularly those manufacturers traditionally associated with business computing, the home market is perceived as a major new opportunity to expand sales. As a consequence, home networks have been an area of intense activity in recent years with the emergence of a range of network solutions (e.g. HomeRF, HomePNA, IEEE 1394, Bluetooth) and middleware to support device interoperability (e.g. HAVi, Jini, UPnP). This focus on networking technologies and middleware platforms suggests that the area of operating systems for home networking devices has received relatively little attention. In this paper we discuss the reasons behind this apparent omission and consider the technological landscape within which operating systems for the home must be researched, developed and deployed.