This is likely to get lost in all the news, but in case you haven’t heard yet, Microsoft Hohm and Ford announced a partnership this morning to help EV owners better manage their vehicles. Hohm has reached beyond the house to help people manage another high-value asset in their lives. Instead of just copying a bunch of text from all over the place, here’s the partnership announcement that the Hohm team made this morning on our team blog.
Watch for a lot more news around this in the coming months. And, if you haven’t checked out Hohm yet, give it a try.
The Microsoft Hohm team has announced two sets of protocol documentation. The first has been in use for some time and it goes by the name “Microsoft Hohm Integration SDK” and the second is the “Microsoft Hohm Device Platform”. The problem is that these were both released as something called an SDK.
Well, that’s just the wrong thing to call them. These are protocol specifications only. The first “SDK” (on MSDN) is a set of WSDL and XSD that describes what the interaction between a utility company and Microsoft Hohm looks like. For what it’s worth, it was actually internally tested by building a Glassfish implementation of the utility side. That’s right, we built the sample utility in java. There’s nothing specifically Microsoft about it. Anyone on any platform can implement the protocol.
Same thing goes for the Device Platform that was announced a month or so ago. Its current incarnation is a PDF file that describes the REST protocol, authentication scheme, and entity schemas. That’s it. Nothing particularly Microsoft about that one either. Again, this specification was developed and tested using a 16-bit embedded controller on a small development board.
So, if our poor choice of terminology is scaring you off, don’t let it. Integrating with Hohm is simple and has no proprietary technology ties. So, get the Integration Protocol Specification (which is what I think I’ll call it from now on) and have a look. You’ll need to wait a little longer before the Device Platform Specification is publically released, but if you ask firstname.lastname@example.org nicely, we might be able to get the document to you.
I’ve had a number of requests recently about integration at the B2B level with Microsoft Hohm. These range from the “how does it work” to “have you thought about X”, so I thought I’d put some of that information here for now. Before I go into any detail on the SDK, I just want to make it clear that this isn’t the Hohm Device SDK that’s been talked about and was recently announced. Stay tuned for more details on that as I’m able to talk about it.
The integration SDK is used for linking customer energy consumption data (gas, electricity, water, oil, propane), customer invoices, and pricing information with the specific customer account in Hohm. The SDK is standards-based, secure by design, and utility-friendly. The following is a stripped down but extended version of a presentation that I do for our utility partners. This is public information that can be found on MSDN, but with additional clarification and details.
One thing that needs to be stated up front though: “SDK” is a bad name because it implies technology requirements. This SDK is a collection of protocol specifications in WSDL and XSD. That’s it. Nothing more. No reason to buy anything from Microsoft to make it work (well, if you want to read the pretty documentation which is in CHM format you need something like Windows).