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ABB launches open API Platform to boost smart home automation

At IFA 2019, ABB launched its new open API platform that is set to unlock the potential for a new era of smart home automation


ABB has been at the forefront of accelerating progress in smart home technology for decades, with almost 5 million components of its connected ABB-free@home® system installed in over 40 countries worldwide.

With demand for smart home automation continuing to grow at double digit rates, ABB has today launched the first truly open API platform in the professional smart home sector, which will deliver full electric appliance integration to developers and partners.

ABB’s experience with its Smarter Home Developer Program demonstrated the need for a more efficient way of cooperation and communication between ABB and developers. As a result, ABB has taken the next step in providing open access to its API platform for future integration of third-party applications.

With already established and proven co-operations in the sector, ABB builds on its far-ranging experience of building partnerships for the benefits of end users with this announcement. The company already takes advantage of the APIs of Sonos, Signify and Amazon Alexa to integrate applications into its ABB-free@home® and ABB i-bus® KNX systems.

As a first, ABB will be officially certified for KNX integration with Sonos through ABB i-bus® KNX Busch-ControlTouch®. As announced last year, ABB also works closely with Signify to control ambient lighting through its Philips Hue switches. The integration of Miele appliances and B/S/H devices via the API of ABB-free@home® can be expected for end of 2019.

The decision to open its API follows on the success of several recent high-profile installations that have used integration to drive successful outcomes. In the hotel sector, ABB recently partnered with Betterspace 360 to develop a customized hotel room service application through integration with ABB-free@home®.

Betterspace 360 provides digital solutions from the lobby to the hotel room in the hospitality sector. Integrating data from the ABB-free@home® system and further applications inside the hotel room into a customized tablet interface, guests can easily control all hotel functions, from lighting to the coffee maker or ordering room service, from one simple device.

Another installation in the Ambient Assisted Living (AAL) space is the development of a virtual assistant avatar which integrates with ABB-free@home® to facilitate the use of smart technology for elderly people. The trial was designed in cooperation with the iHomeLab of the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts to increase the well-being of elderly residents using interactive solutions.

The ‘My Life, My Way’ project is the first of its kind to use ABB’s new open API to provide an alternative means of holistic care and virtual support for key aspects of social and clinical care provision within assisted living environments.

The virtual assistant, which residents interact with through voice control or tablet, help users to control typical automation functions, such as the opening and closing of blinds, along with new applications for interaction including video calls. The trial was so successful that two thirds of participants wanted to keep the solution at the end of the trial period, because they felt it improved their independence and quality of life.

Commenting on the development, Oliver Iltisberger, Managing Director of ABB’s Smart Buildings, said: “With our open API platform, we are the first in the industry to fully open up our technology, in partnership with other industry players and partners, for the benefit of the consumer. This move will help to make our living spaces ever more supportive of our needs, making them more comfortable, welcoming, environmentally friendly and secure for the future.”

Access to the API platform is possible via the MyBuildings Portal powered by ABB’s cloud-enabled digital platform ABB Ability™.

“ABB has always had a clear vision on how innovative technology can create smarter living spaces. Opening up our API is just another example of ABB’s commitment to unlocking previously untapped potential, which will ultimately take smart home technology to the next level and deliver a better experience for the homeowner,” added Iltisberger.

ABB (ABBN: SIX Swiss Ex) is a pioneering technology leader with a comprehensive offering for digital industries. With a history of innovation spanning more than 130 years, ABB is today a leader in digital industries with four customer-​focused, globally leading businesses: Electrification, Industrial Automation, Motion, and Robotics & Discrete Automation, supported by its common ABB Ability™ digital platform. ABB’s market leading Power Grids business will be divested to Hitachi in 2020. ABB operates in more than 100 countries with about 147,000 employees.

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