About ECHONET Lite Specification

ECHONET Lite features and overview

ECHONET Lite is of communication specifications designed to create effective services such as energy management and remote maintenance, adding IoT support for resource conservation devices such as sensors, large household electrical appliances (“white goods”), and facility devices. System formulation under a multi-vendor environment will be achieved by using common communication specifications and common control commands for various devices.

The following shows the structure of the ECHONET Lite standards.

The following describes the core function of ECHONET Lite which realizes IoT service by resource saving device and interoperability among multiple vendors.

(1) Enabling the use of existing standard transmission media

The range specified in ECHONET Lite is the 5th layer and higher for the OSI reference model, and not depend on lower layer communication specifications. A transmision address shall be designated using the IP address and MAC address of the low layer communication media. Users can therefore select the most reasonable transmission media from the market to meet a variety of requirements, such as available services and applications.

(2) Applicable for a wide range of appliances for households and small‐and‐medium‐sized buildings or stores

The ECHONET CONSORTIUM has been continuously expanding the number of control commands for devices since its establishment in 1997. The CONSORTIUM defines control commands for device objects by modeling various programs and data groups of devices.

CONSOTIUM is also working on the definition of energy-saving equipment (sensors, air conditioners, lighting, etc.), energy storage devices (eg storage batteries and HP water heaters), energy generating equipment (photovoltaic power generation, fuel cells, etc.). Smart electric meter, commercial equipment (eg package air conditioner and Refrigerated display case). Currently there are over 100 devices with detailed device objects (control commands) defined. Device objects can be categorized into seven groups (class groups) for each application.Equipment stipulated in the ECHONET device objects.

Class Group Code Class Group Examples
0×00 Sensor-related Device Class Group Fire sensor, motion detection sensor, temperature sensor,CO2 sensor, electric energy sensor, etc.
0×01 Air Conditioner-related Device Class Group Air conditioner, fan, ventilation fan, air cleaner, heated carpet oil fan heaters etc.
0×02 Housing/Facilities-related Device Class Group lectrically operated shade, electrically operated curtains,watrer heaters, electrically operated locks, smart heaters, smartmeters, solar power generation, fuel cell battery, etc. general lighting, single function lighting, emergency lights etc.
0×03 Cooking/Household-related Device Class Group Microwave oven, dishwasher machines, dish drying machines,washing machines, clothes drying machines etc.
0×04 Health-related Device Class Group Weighing machine, body fat analyzers, thermometers,blood pressure meters, blood glucose meters etc.
0×05 Management/Operation-related Device Controllers, switch (HA), etc.
0×06 Audiovisual-related Device Class Group

Television, display, etc.

(3) Further improvement in interoperability of key devices
 -Formulation of the Application Cmmunication Interface Specifications(AIF Specifications)-

ECHONET Lite specification achieves high level of interoperability by conformity certification test. At the same time, it is a general-purpose specification applicable to over 100 kinds of devices.The ECHONET consortium defines more than 10 major devices in home air conditioners, accumulators, photovoltaic generators, commercial package air conditioners, smart electricity meters (high / low voltage). To ensure high interoperability of these devices, the application communication interface specification (AIF specification) specified in CONSORTIUM specifies specific use of ECHONET Lite at the application level of each device.

As an example of concrete usage, the AIF specification defines the following items:

  • Device objects to be installed
  • Combination of supported properties
  • Time out after sending a request until receiving a response
  • Sequence assuming a specific usage case

Regarding the conformity test for AIF certifications, highly reliable tests using actual devices are provided by a third party test center recognized by the CONSORTIUM.

(4) Enables linkage with cloud services

To study communication specifications, the architecture of the system as a whole is essential. ECHONET Lite communication specifications are formulated with an architecture where a gateway device (e.g. controller) has an interface between various services provided online and the local environment, such as a general household. The following shows an example system structure.

With such an architecture, you can develop the service system and the network system of the equipment separately. Therefore, not only device manufacturers but also service providers can provide various services.

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