Connected home service growth moves closer to reality with new open broadband USP agent

John Blackford of Broadband Forum

The full potential of the Connected Home has been brought a step closer to reality following the latest update from Broadband Forum. This is the release of the Open Broadband – USP Agent (OB-USP-Agent) project.

By adding support for the widely-used Message Queuing Telemetry Transport (MQTT) protocol as a USP message transfer protocol, the ‘Canary’ Release from Broadband Forum’s open source project helps service providers develop value-added services and provides increased levels of security for remote connected device management for operators. End-users will also benefit from operators now being able to integrate third-party software and services into existing gateway platforms.

In addition to significantly helping providers manage their applications more effectively, the latest release from the OB-USP-Agent project team will also allow operators to leverage the USP ecosystem to unlock the potential of the Connected Home and capitalise on the ever-growing Internet of Things (IoT) market.

“The Canary Release of the open source project will enhance the role USP plays in the IoT market place and combines the best of both open source and open standards to realise the full promise of broadband,” says John Blackford, Broadband Forum chairman and OB-USP-Agent project manager. “This will ensure service providers and operators are armed with the tools they need to securely manage connected devices, build real value-added services, and prosper in the Connected Home era.”

MQTT is primarily used for Machine-to-Machine applications and IoT Devices and facilitates communication between Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) and cloud controllers or local LAN based controls. The implementation of MQTT within OB-USP-Agent allows operators to re-use existing infrastructure to meet their management needs. With the ability to overcome bandwidth constraints, MQTT enables fast message delivery and uses minimal amounts of power.

The Canary Release adds support for the MQTT Message Transfer Protocol, in addition to the already supported Constrained Application Protocol (CoAP), WebSockets, and Simple/Streaming Text Oriented Messaging Protocol (STOMP), and architectural improvements to support open source software-based environments, such as OpenWRT/ prplWRT and RDK-based platforms.

BT recognises the importance of MQTT as a lightweight Message Transport Protocol for IoT messaging. This is why we were pleased to be able to contribute to the work of the OB-USP-Agent project team on Release 3. This release further enables our adoption of USP across a range of use-cases. With MQTT we can re-use code to support applications interacting with CPE both LAN side and when outside the premises via a cloud broker,” comments Ivan Barr, principal software engineer at BT.

The OB-USP-Agent project not only accelerates the adoption rate of USP but provides an open market without vendor lock-in to less flexible or agile propriety management solutions. The project team ensures the service providers and open source community that they are continuing their mission to make the open source project a complete reference implementation of the USP specification, and the next step in that journey is the planning of the soon to be named Release 4.

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