Fraunhofer offers UPnP middleware

Manufacturers in search of middleware to connect devices from different vendors and swap digital audio and visual content seamlessly may want to test technology developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Open Communications Systems.

Fraunhofer and its spin-off TwonkyVision have developed middleware based on the UPnP (Universal Plug and Play) standard. The middleware, known as UPnP AV stack, is available for free and can be downloaded from the TwonkyVision Web site at www.twonkyvision.com.

"We're providing the software for free so manufacturers can test UPnP in their own products," said René Stolp, a member of the UPnP development team at Fraunhofer, speaking on Wednesday at the e/home digital home conference and exhibition. "We will, however, charge a fee for the UPnP software development kit."

The UPnP middleware runs on both the Windows and Linux operating systems.

At the Berlin event, Fraunhofer demonstrated a multimedia home network based on its UPnP middleware. The demonstration showed how audio and visual content can be shared among devices from several vendors, including Koninklijke Philips Electronics, Linksys Group, Netgear and Sony.

"Our software enables true device interoperability, allowing users to call up photos, video and music from any device and from anywhere in their home," Stolp said.

UPnP technology is designed to connect PCs of all types, intelligent appliances and wireless devices by leveraging IP (Internet Protocol) and the Web to enable data transfer among networked devices in the home, office or anywhere in between. Standardization is coordinated by the UPnP Forum, of which Fraunhofer is a member.

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