Smart technologies, smart home, living, digitalization, functional safety, interoperability

Dr. Siegfried Pongratz, Head of Smart Technologies at the VDE Institute, explains Dirk Wiese, Parliamentary Secretary of State at the Federal Ministry of Economic Affiars and Energy (BMWi), the activities in the VDE Smart Home Laboratory.

2017-04-05 publication

BMWi State Secretary Wiese informs himself about Cyber Security, Smart Living and visited the Smart Home Laboratory of the VDE Institute

The meeting focused on the topics digitalization, cyber security, functional security and interoperability. Dirk Wiese, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), was demonstrated the activities in the Smart Home Laboratory and explained the cloud-based interoperable test platform by the experts of the VDE institute. The business initiative "Smart Living", initiated by the VDE and launched in March, was also a topic of discussion.

Dr. Siegfried Pongratz
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Smart technologies, smart home, living, digitalization, functional safety, interoperability

Dirk Wiese, Parliamentary Secretary of State in the BMWi, Wolfgang Niedziella, Managing Director of the VDE Institute, and Ansgar Hinz, Chairman of the VDE Board, visiting the Smart Home Laboratory.


"Launched five years ago in the course of the Smart Home project sponsored by the BMWi, the Smart Home Laboratory is now developing further towards Smart Living and Industry 4.0," explains Dr. Siegfried Pongratz, Head of Smart Technologies at the VDE Institute. On the live system, the VDE experts demonstrate tests for information security, data protection and functional safety. A smart, internet-connected washing machine serves as a model. In case of an insufficiently protected device, as it is the case in the live demo, functional safety elements can be influenced by a simulated hacker attack. Thus, during the demonstration, the door of the washing machine can be opened during operation- a danger for the appliance and the user: "In a case of a washing machine, the damage caused by such an attack is manageable. For critical infrastructures, such an incident would have quite different effects", Dr. Pongratz points out.

On the basis of a smart-home-capable washing machine, the VDE experts also explained the newly created cloud-based test platform – Test Suite 2.0. It can be used to test up to ten different network systems and technologies at the same time for interoperability, such as smart home systems or applications in the field of e-mobility. "In the Test Suite 2.0, during the development process our experts conduct a remote-controlled verification of the conformity and interoperability of the respective product, based on defined use-case scenarios" explains Dr. Pongratz. Since there are currently no general standards in the smart home sector, the VDE Institute is developing test provisions for information security and data protection, which in turn are then incorporated into standardization.

Data protection determines the success of Smart Home

It is estimated that 500,000 smart home systems are currently in use in Germany - which is still relatively small for 40 million German households. The issue of data protection is a decisive reason for the restraint of consumers. Many people worry about their data or that their privacy is not adequately protected. Dr. Pongratz reports: "For that, we are doing a great deal of work with our independent tests to increase consumer confidence in smart home systems". In addition to data security, interoperability is another essential determining factor.

Business initiative "Smart Living"

This is the starting point for the business initiative "Smart Living" launched in 2012 under the promotion of the BMWi together with ZVEH and ZVEI. The goal of the initiative is to develop Germany into an international leading market for smart living applications. In this context, the VDE calls for the rapid establishment of the necessary conditions for Germany to take a leading position in the international market due to its high market dynamics. Together with the BMWi, the participants have worked out a structural proposal for the initiative, which has already begun with three working groups. The main fields of action here are the market education and the promotion of crafts.

Reliability of electricity meters

Due to the current media reports on incorrect measurements of the digital electricity meter and the beginning of Smart Meter rollout, Wiese was particularly interested in the Smart Meter test stand. A total of 600 test cases for basic meters can be examined by the VDE experts with the developed test system. Load, performance and robustness tests are also possible. "With us, metering companies can ensure that intelligent measurement systems (iMsys) can communicate with one another." In addition to the classic metrological tests, interoperability is a major focus of the tests.

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