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Microsoft continues push for home-automation OS

updated 08:05 pm EDT, Fri April 27, 2012

Microsoft HomeOS now deployed in 12 test homes

Microsoft has published a new white paper (pdf) on its Microsoft Research site detailing how its HomeOS would work to make home-automation a reality. To explain its concept, Microsoft's researchers frame the HomeOS as being a 'PC-like abstraction' for in-home devices. In this paradigm, consoles, routers, PCs, printers, smartphones, air conditioners and light, for example, would all appear to the HomeOS as peripherals connected to a central interface.

Although Microsoft has built operating systems that are not Windows-based, and the HomeOS project has been built using C# and the .Net 4.0 Framework, the white paper does not say whether it has been derived from the Windows OS. The kernel of the HomeOS is 'agnostic to the devices which it provides access, allowing easy incorporation of new devices,' while the HomeOS runs on a gateway PC dedicated to home-automation.

According to the paper, Microsoft Research has been testing the HomeOS in 12 homes over the past several months and that 42 of its students have built new apps and facilitated support for additional home devices. The apps are available for installation on users' home gateway PC through an app store portal known as the HomeStore.

Although still a research project, the project has been in development since mid-2010 (pdf), which suggests that Microsoft sees that the concept may have commercial viability. The latest white paper does not reveal any commercial plans, but is further evidence that Microsoft is seriously pursuing the concept.

As the HomeOS platform is device agnostic, it would seem that if the project is successful, the dream of properly integrated and managed home automation may be on the horizon. [via CNET]

by MacNN Staff



  1. facebook_Adrian

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Apr 2012


    In the future...

    Once again, "the home of the future." I've been following endless articles and research developments on home automation and home PC control since I was in high school in the early 1980s. Can't quite remember how many iterations of Microsoft proposals there have been!

  1. bowwowman

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Even having the words "Microsloft" & "device agnostic" in the same sentence makes me wanna puke, or at least go do some REALLY good drugs & space out for the rest of the day......

    Is this someone's idea cruel & unusual punishment for the masses or what?

    Sounds more like just another way M$ wants to dominate & control our lives with more buggy, infection-plagued, insecure crapcode they see fit to call "software"......

    thanks, but no thanks, I'll pass :)

  1. Le Flaneur

    Joined: Dec 1969


    big test!

    "According to the paper, Microsoft Research has been testing the HomeOS in 12 homes over the past several months"

    Wow, now that's an extensive test!

  1. SockRolid

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Fatal concept flaw

    Microsoft's Home OS project is doomed. Especially if they actually believe that this is a good idea:

    "...Microsoft's researchers frame the HomeOS as being a 'PC-like abstraction' for in-home devices."

    Complete, utter, aggressive cluelessness. Making every device and switch in your house look like a PC peripheral is the dumbest, quickest, and dirtiest way of doing home automation. It also happens to be the least user-friendly way. But nobody has ever accused Microsoft of knowing what "user-friendly" means.

    You'll notice that the word "Windows" doesn't appear in the name "Home OS." Maybe Microsoft is finally admitting that "Windows" is that junky, ugly, hard-to-use software you use at work. And that "Windows" is the last thing people want to be dealing with when they're at home trying to relax.

  1. PJL500

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Really? Please consider this a hobby. It will never happen. It would be like... zzzzz... forget it.

  1. facebook_Jessica

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Aug 2012



    I'm impressed with the major advances in AI that Microsoft is introducing. Not only does this OS seem to be sentient, but it is also apparently programmed to ponder deep metaphysical concepts.

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