Robin Mersh, CEO, Broadband Forum
As a new era of connected devices in the home bursts on to the scene and continues to grow, in part thanks to the rise of smartphones, smart TVs, and wearable devices, now is the time to create standards that meet this demand and surpass expectations. That standard is the user services platform (USP), the Broadband Forum’s new specification for implementing, deploying, and managing all aspects of the Internet of Things (IoT) in the home.
A Unified Approach
For the first time, USP brings a unified, common approach to securely deploy, manage, monitor, upgrade, and deploy connected devices. As a framework of agents and controllers that interact in real-time, the USP allows applications to manipulate end-user devices and virtual services using a standardized data model.
This enables service providers, consumer electronics manufacturers, and end-users to perform lifecycle management of consumer connected devices, bootstrap and configure newly installed devices and virtual services, monitor and troubleshoot connected devices and home network links, as well as map the home network to control service quality and monitor threats.
For broadband-hungry consumers, USP allows many devices from different suppliers across the industry to be integrated into a service providers’ offering, creating the possibility of bringing new, revenue-generating services to end-users and ultimately delivering a great consumer experience. This expands management well beyond the scope of the well-known TR-069 standard.
Continuing the Legacy
With 800 million TR-069 CPE WAN management protocol devices worldwide, TR-069 has proven to be a popular and successful standard. However, the forum recognized the need for evolution to meet the demands of the consumer electronics industry to bootstrap, upgrade, manage, and monitor connected devices.
Building upon the best parts of the specification and leveraging the expertise and experience gained from TR-069, USP meets the challenges facing service providers to interwork multiple consumer electronics, IoT, and home networking solutions.
Reusing and expanding on the same device 2 data model as TR-069, USP goes beyond simply having a single auto configuration server to incorporate multiple end points that control both the connected devices and individual executables on each point. For service providers who currently have limited visibility into the home, this enables permissions levels to be created to allow for necessary upgrades or fixes to the network and devices connected to it to be carried out.
Security, Security, Security
Consumers are keen to connect but concerns about the potential risks of connected devices in the home is also something that needs to be addressed as the landscape of the IoT grows and develops.
To minimize risk, end-to-end integrity, security, and privacy are at the heart of the USP specification, enabling secure control of the IoT, the smart home, and networking functions both locally or from the cloud.
Its architectural components include a system for end-to-end confidentiality, integrity, and identity authentication, transport of messages over one or more message transfer protocols (MTPs) with associated MTP security, plus USP endpoints that communicate over secure sessions between other endpoints.
The New User Experience
Until now, service providers across the industry have been faced with a closed door, unable to provide new value-added services for broadband users that consumers want, isolating the home and the home user.
Creating a standard that bolsters service provider offerings securely to enable the ultimate connected experience for consumers in the home is what the industry is calling out for. With the introduction of USP, the door to deploying and managing electronics, entertainment, and IoT in our increasingly connected world has been opened, and the potential of the connected home unlocked.