Activities and Schedule

Fiscal Year 2018 Activity Report

Marking the Consortium’s 20th anniversary, we newly established the Strategy Building Working Group to study new strategies with the aim of moving up to the next step. In October 2018, an interim report was given at CEATEC JAPAN 2018 regarding the ECHONET 2.0 Vision that the Strategy Building Working Group reviewed, while concepts were exhibited. In December 2018, at the “Home Appliance Open Innovation Symposium” sponsored by Keio University (cosponsored by the Consortium), we announced ECHONET 2.0, activities with the goal of helping realize IoT society/Society 5.0 through sorting out the concept of system reliability, technical investigations into the linkages between servers, and promoting popularization among service providers. With ECHONET 2.0, we aim to achieve popularization to the tune of 100 million devices installed with ECHONET Lite by 2020, definitions for 200 types of device control commands by 2025, and the introduction of home controllers to all households in Japan by 2030.

The Consortium has been continuously promoting its activities, including enhancement of the ECHONET Lite specifications and activities to develop relevant documents and tools, efforts to make the ECHONET Lite AIF specifications into an international standard, continued operation of ECHONET Lite AIF certification systems, and promotional activities to expand and popularize ECHONET Lite in domestic and international markets.

Regarding enhancement of the ECHONET Lite specifications and activities to develop relevant documents and tools, we reviewed and revised the configuration of the ECHONET Lite Specifications to make the System Design Policy (formally, Section 5 of the ECHONET Lite Specifications) into an independent document. The Consortium completed the formulation of a new version of the APPENDIX: Detailed Requirements for ECHONET Device objects (Release K) and revised AIF specifications for household solar power generation. In addition to the above, ECHONET Lite Web API guidelines that enable linkages between clouds were released to general public in October 2018. Various services can be created based on these cloud linkages. To help understand the specifications in the ECHONET Lite Web API guidelines and verify guideline operations, the Consortium established the ECHONET Lite Web API experimental cloud through joint research with the Kanagawa Institute of Technology. In December 2018, the experimental cloud was released to member companies and started operation.

Regarding making the ECHONET Lite AIF specifications into an international standard, the Consortium collaborated with the Kanagawa Institute of Technology (entrusted with the International Standard Development Project by the Industrial Science and Technology Policy and Environment Bureau) to propose the NEW WORK ITEM PROPOSAL (NP) of AIF specifications between home air conditioners and HEMS controllers to ISO/IEC JTC1 SC25 WG1. NP of the specification was approved with a vote by representatives from various countries. The Consortium received the 2018 Industry Standardization Project Award and the 2018 Director of the Industrial Science and Technology Policy and Environment Bureau Award for making the ECHONET Lite specifications into an international standard and for  promotional activities and other industry standardization activities.

The Consortium made ongoing efforts to run the ECHONET Lite AIF certification system. This year, new certifications were registered including 97 ECHONET Lite certifications, 96 controllers for ECHONET Lite AIF certifications, and 61 devices. This brought the cumulative total of certification registration to 666 ECHONET Lite certifications, 226 controllers for ECHONET Lite AIF certification, and 191 devices.

In terms of promotion and facilitation activities in Japan, the Consortium explained the ECHONET Lite AIF specifications and IoT houses utilizing ECHONET Lite to the ZEH builders at the explanatory session for the 2018 Net Zero Energy House Support Project. To promote and facilitate ECHONET Lite overseas, the Consortium implemented a joint research program with Keio University, in the hopes of developing ECHONET Lite experts in Southeast Asia.

Fiscal Year 2019 Business Plan

According to the current popularization status of ECHONET Lite products we investigated in May 2019, the cumulative number of shipped products certified under ECHONET Lite specifications reaching nearly 24.8 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.

 Since 157 products were registered during 2018 to the AIF certification system that started in April 2016, it is expected that more and more products will be popularized in markets via the AIF certification system in the near future.

With the experiences accumulated up until now, the Consortium promotes activities towards ECHONET 2.0 that further makes contributions to IoT society/Society 5.0, with the aim of “Popularize world’s best IoT houses and IoT offices” and “Promote and develop international standard I/F represents Japan, that can make contribution to economic growth and resolution of social problems”. Specifically, expand the scope of study to a system including online services, while reorganizing the concept of system reliability using ECHONET Lite devices, technical investigation on the linkages between servers and a wide variety of services, and promoting improvement of the developing environment for newcomers. To promote activities focused on the ECHONET 2.0, the Consortium will newly establish Study Problem Working Group under the Board of Directors Meeting, in order to realize ECHONET2.0.

The Consortium will also 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, we will strengthen activities through projects to help the Net Zero Energy House (ZEH), while promoting HEMS popularization as an advanced energy management.

To promote popularization overseas, we will continue joint research with Keio University, and promote activities to develop human resources 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 project for developing international standards and popularization overseas. At the same time, we will make efforts to improve the status of ECHONET Lite Specifications through activities at international standardization groups, including IEC.

For the AIF certification system, the Consortium will continually improve certification tests based on market feedback, while expanding test objects and improving various specifications. Other than the above, formulation and maintenance of ECHONET Lite and AIF specifications will be promoted.

In addition to the above, the Consortium will participate in the study group hosted by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI). The Consortium will also promote the formulation and revision of standards by bringing in opinions from relevant industry groups and respective related industry associations and member companies. Furthermore, with an aim to promote ECHONET Lite specifications and expand home networks and the IoT market, the Consortium 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 Consortium will continuously strengthen its organization and operation system.

Action schedule 2019

April Call for ECHONET Equipment Object Proposals
May Report on the number of ECHONET Lite specifications / AIF specification conformance certifications
June The 6th Regular general meeting (June 5) Report on ECHONET Lite compatible product shipment status survey results
July The 11th Forum (July 11)
August The first Plug Fest (August 29-30, Tokyo)
September Exhibit at IFA 2019 IFA NEXT (at Messe Berlin) (September 6 to 11)
October Call for ECHONET Equipment Object Proposals  Exhibit at CEATEC 2019 (Oct. 15-18)
December ECHONET Consortium Symposium and reception (planned for early December) 
January Exhibit at ENEX2020 and Smart Energy Japan 2020(January 29-January 31)
February The second PlugFest (Tokyo) The 12th Forum (Tokyo )
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