Schneider Electric and Thomson multimedia join forces

With the explosive growth in sales of digital devices, such as set-top boxes, DVD players, electronic books and MP3 audio players, home communication networks will soon become as commonplace as household electrical wiring. Whether these home networks succeed will depend in large part on their price, performance and ease of use.

To meet the needs of this marketplace, Schneider Electric and Thomson multimedia have formed a global partnership to develop new Powerline Communication (PLC) technologies.

The key to developing these networks is to enable consumers to connect without having to install additional wiring. Among the different possibilities – for ‘no new wire’ networks – PLC technologies are attractive because they are so easy to use. They use the household electrical system to transmit digital data, then they enable products to communicate, simply by installing an interconnect box between the product and the electrical outlet.

The goal of the Schneider Electric and Thomson equally owned joint venture is to build a full range of PLC communication products for home networks, building control systems and return path needed for interactive applications.

The partners’ ambition is to become a world leader in PLC technology-based solutions, with sales of 200 to 300 million Euros within three years. They will begin inter-site communication trials via electrical networks as soon as the joint venture is operational.

The market for communication devices integrating these technologies is estimated at more than 1 billion Euros in 2003.

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