Microsoft launches Universal Plug and Play

At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this week in Las Vegas, Microsoft Corporation unveiled its vision for a future of interconnected devices called Universal Plug and Play. Suspiciously similar to Sun Microsystem's Jini initiative (which is Java-based), Universal Plug and Play is "a key element in Microsoft's standards-based vision of simple networking, where easy-to-configure intelligent appliances, networked peripherals, PCs and the services they provide become peers on networks in homes and businesses." In other words, this is Jini minus the reliance on Java.

"As appliances become more intelligent and the distinction between appliances and computing devices blurs, a key part of their value to consumers will come from their ability to communicate with other intelligent devices," said Craig Mundie, a senior VP at Microsoft. "Because Universal Plug and Play is built on standards, it will be relatively easy for vendors to implement, allowing a quick and easy transition for consumers and enabling them to enjoy the convenience, community and better communication afforded by a home network."

To gain an edge on Jini, Microsoft is pushing such terms as "cross-industry support"; a number of computer industry corporations are on the bandwagon, including Toshiba, 3Com, Sharp, Hitachi, AT&T, HP, Dell, and Compaq.

"Cisco believes that standards-based, open architectures offer consumers the broadest range of solutions, and we look forward to working with Microsoft and others in this area," says Robba Benjamin, VP and general manager at Cisco Systems Inc.

If you're unfamiliar with Jini, please read my short description of this technology from an earlier issue of WinInfo

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