In December 2017, the ECHONET Consortium held a symposium to commemorate its 20th anniversary. At the symposium, Dr. Jun Murai, Professor at Keio University and Yohei Matsuda, Director of the Information Economy Division at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) presented their compliments, while moderators including Dr. Masaki Umejima, Specially-appointed Associate Professor at Keio University, hosted a panel discussion. With many other guests appeared on the stage, the Consortium successfully reviewed and held an active discussion to seek future development.
During fiscal 2017, the Consortium enhanced the previous ECHONET Lite specifications and implemented activities to develop relevant documents and tools, while promoting activities to expand and popularize ECHONET Lite and ECHONET Lite AIF, as priority targets.
In terms of promotion and facilitation activities in Japan, the Consortium studied usage cases of the ECHONET Lite specifications to promote houses supporting the Internet of Things (IoT) to house manufacturers and builders in collaboration with member companies of the Commissioner of Japan Electrical Manufacturers’ Association (JEMA) and the Japan Federation of Housing Organizations (JUDANREN). Also, the Consortium created leaflets titled the “House Performance Catalog” together with JEMA and JUDANREN, and held explanatory sessions while inviting leaders in charge of home manufacturing.
As part of a joint research program with Keio University, the Consortium developed textbooks to be used in 2018 educational programs to promote and facilitate ECHONET Lite overseas, in the hopes of developing ECHONET Lite experts in Southeast Asia. As a part of international standardization activities, the Detailed Requirements for Device Objects (Release G) that was previously proposed to TC100 of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) was published in April 2017, as the international standard “IEC62394 Ed.3”. We also launched a project to make the ECHONET Lite AIF specifications into international standards in collaboration with the Kanagawa Institute of Technology, which was entrusted with METI’s national project for standardization. Meanwhile, the Consortium translated documents related to the AIF specifications and made an effort to promote AIF specifications in Thailand and Malaysia. Then, it delivered a preliminary proposal for making the AIF specifications into international standards at the meeting of “ISO/IEC JTC1 SC25 Working Group 1”.
To support the ECHONET Lite AIF authentication system, the Consortium newly established specifications for lighting systems and extended lighting systems, while revising specifications for fuel cells, electric vehicles, electric vehicle charging/discharging devices, and instantaneous water heaters. At the same time, we completed preparations for the new Release J version of APPENDIX Detailed Requirements for ECHONET Device objects. The Consortium also established a working group to study WebAPI and learn about the Application Programming Interface (API), which is a user-friendly tool for service and application developers as well as business operators. The API should be based on ECHONET Lite devices that support IoT. In addition, the Consortium jointly presented its activities with the Kanagawa Institute of Technology at ENEX2017, Smart Energy Japan 2017 (Osaka), and Smart Energy Japan 2018 (Tokyo), as well as an exhibition at Ayanokuni Business Arena 2018.
We investigated the current popularization status of ECHONET Lite products in May 2018, with the number of shipped products authenticated under ECHONET Lite specifications reached 17.4 million units in total. There is no doubt that ECHONET Lite products will spread to houses, as low-voltage smart electric energy meters will be installed in all houses in Japan by 2024. During 2017, 261 products were registered to the AIF authentication system that started in April 2016, and the authentication system was added to the 2018 ZEH subsidy requirements. Accordingly, it is expected that more and more products will be popularized in markets via the AIF authentication system in the near future.
To improve the status of ECHONET Lite specifications and AIF specifications as a fundamental IoT technology and create a rich society brought by home network-based services, we established the ECHONET2.0 Strategy Working Group under the Promotion Committee. With these, the Consortium will start deliberations to step up its efforts in the next stage. While focusing on activities based on deliberations by the working group, we will continue studying ongoing domestic and global promotional activities, the formulation of new specifications, revisions of existing specifications, and technology to support future IoT.
To promote popularization in Japan, promotion activities for ZEH and smart houses that use ECHONET Lite devices will be conducted for house manufacturers, local house builders, building contractors, and housing designers through a joint Working Group with the Japan Electrical Manufacturers’ Association (general incorporated association) and the Japan Federation of Housing Organizations (general incorporated association), which lead the HEMS market.
To promote popularization overseas, we will continue joint research with Keio University which started last year, and promote activities to develop educational programs for ECHONET Lite specialists in Southeast Asia. We will also promote activities to make AIF specifications into international standards in collaboration with the Kanagawa Institute of Technology, based on METI’s national project for standardization and popularization overseas. At the same time, we will continue activities at international standardization groups, including IEC.
The WebAPI Study Working Group launched last year will formulate guidelines for basic functions and make a trial server based on those guidelines, with the aim of releasing it to Consortium member companies.
Other than the above, with an aim to promote ECHONET Lite specifications and expand home networks and the IoT market, the Committee will provide support to government, domestic and foreign industry associations and member companies in response to their requests for support. In order to implement the abovementioned specific activities and to establish a sustainable operation basis, the Committee will continuously strengthen its organization and operation system.
|April||Added and collected proposals for ECHONET device objects
Investigation of current shipment status of ECHONET Lite products
|June||The fifth ordinary general meeting of employees (June 12)
The Ninth Forum (June 26)
|July||The first PlugFest (July 3-4, Tokyo)|
|October||Add and collect proposals for ECHONET device objects
CEATEC JAPAN 2018 (October 16-19)
|December||ECHONET Consortium Symposium and reception (planned for early December)|
|January||Exhibit at ENEX2019 and Smart Energy Japan 2019 (January 30 through February 1)|
|February||The second PlugFest (TOB, Tokyo)
The Tenth Forum (TOB, Tokyo)