JP3795507B2 - Communication relay device - Google Patents

Communication relay device Download PDF

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Publication number
JP3795507B2
JP3795507B2 JP2004527367A JP2004527367A JP3795507B2 JP 3795507 B2 JP3795507 B2 JP 3795507B2 JP 2004527367 A JP2004527367 A JP 2004527367A JP 2004527367 A JP2004527367 A JP 2004527367A JP 3795507 B2 JP3795507 B2 JP 3795507B2
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Prior art keywords
data
communication
relay
virtual
unit
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JPWO2004015932A1 (en
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隆夫 乾
俊幸 岩井
智之 戸谷
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シャープ株式会社
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Priority to PCT/JP2003/010098 priority patent/WO2004015932A1/en
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    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L12/00Data switching networks
    • H04L12/28Data switching networks characterised by path configuration, e.g. local area networks [LAN], wide area networks [WAN]
    • H04L12/2803Home automation networks
    • H04L12/283Processing of data at an internetworking point of a home automation network
    • H04L12/2836Protocol conversion between an external network and a home network
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L12/00Data switching networks
    • H04L12/28Data switching networks characterised by path configuration, e.g. local area networks [LAN], wide area networks [WAN]
    • H04L12/2803Home automation networks
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04MTELEPHONIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04M7/00Interconnection arrangements between switching centres
    • H04M7/006Networks other than PSTN/ISDN providing telephone service, e.g. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), including next generation networks with a packet-switched transport layer
    • H04M7/0066Details of access arrangements to the networks
    • H04M7/0069Details of access arrangements to the networks comprising a residential gateway, e.g. those which provide an adapter for POTS or ISDN terminals

Description

  The present invention relates to a communication relay apparatus that performs communication by connecting to two devices on a network, and realizing mutual communication between the two devices by exchanging data with each other.

  Conventionally, there is a “gateway” as a device that connects two networks to each other and relays communication, such as the Internet and a LAN (Local Area Network).

  When the gateway is used, for example, it is possible to communicate between a device connected to the Internet outside the home and a device on the home LAN such as a personal computer, and use services and information outside the home from the home. By the way, in order to use a service using communication, generally, one device having a plurality of functions for using the service is required. If there is no such device, in order to use a new service, add a function necessary for using the service to a general-purpose device with a communication function, or use a dedicated service with a function to use the service. It is necessary to introduce equipment. For this reason, the cost of introducing a new service as a user is large, and for service providers, developing new devices and software for each newly devised service takes time and cost, It is not easy to practice the idea.

  Here, referring to the prior art related to the home gateway device, in Japanese Patent Laid-Open No. 9-224081, it is a home gateway device, on which a plurality of external line communication and extension line communication are differentiated between lines. A home gateway device that performs communication exchange control is disclosed.

  The communication system disclosed in Japanese Patent Application Laid-Open No. 10-224408 is a system that controls communication by distinguishing data types and converts data by a function of a transmission destination.

  Japanese Patent Laid-Open No. 2000-358061 discloses a communication relay device that formats and routes data between an external network and an internal network. The prior patents cited in the prior art do not include switching or distributing communication destinations according to data types for a plurality of devices.

  On the other hand, Japanese Patent Application Laid-Open No. 11-282642 discloses a system that combines a plurality of devices. In this system, it is determined whether a device is connected to a predetermined device, and the device is switched between working as a single-function device or working together with a predetermined device. This means that if the printer and the scanner are connected by an IEEE 1394 bus, the printer functions as a copying machine, and it is determined whether the terminal itself is connected to a specific device and the behavior of the terminal itself is switched. However, the system disclosed in Japanese Patent Application Laid-Open No. 11-282642 does not switch the data flow.

  Conventionally, a communication relay device called a gateway transmits / receives data or converts a protocol from one network to another network. In other words, in a service realized by performing communication between networks, communication is performed via a gateway between devices having a function of using a service on each network, and the service is used.

In order to use a communication service, it was necessary to prepare equipment necessary for using the service and connect it to a network. If a device with all the functions that use the service could not be prepared, of course, the service could not be used. For example, a television (hereinafter referred to as TV) telephone service will be described as an example. A device for using a TV telephone service has been introduced in one network, and the other network as a communication partner is similarly configured. If there is a device that has all the functions necessary for using the TV phone service, the two devices can communicate using the TV phone service to make a TV phone call. As a device for introducing the TV phone service, a personal computer (hereinafter referred to as a PC) into which a device or software is installed so that the TV phone service can be used, a dedicated terminal for the TV phone service, or the like can be considered. In the absence of them, the TV phone service could not be used.
JP-A-9-224081 JP-A-10-224408 JP 2000-358061 A Japanese Patent Application Laid-Open No. 11-282464

  However, communication services do not require entirely new functions, and the capabilities of existing devices often become part of the ability to use new services. The functions required for a new service exist even though they are divided into multiple devices, and these devices are not sufficient to use the new service, so the new service can be used. There was a problem that I could not.

  An object of the present invention is to connect a communication for each function required for a service to a plurality of devices on the network when using a service on the network so that the service can be used by combining the functions of each device. is there.

  In order to achieve the above object, according to one aspect of the present invention, a communication relay device that relays communication between devices on a network, which is a virtual device for using one communication service Means for holding virtual device information that defines a virtual device information. The virtual device information includes designation of a device to be a data relay destination for each type of data to be communicated, and communication using a virtual device is included in the virtual device information. Means for selecting a relay destination device for each data type according to the relay device information of the relay device, relaying data to at least two devices, and a template including a description of the type of data communicated for each communication service And virtual device definition means for creating virtual device information for each type of data communicated by the communication service using the template.

  According to another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a communication relay device that relays communication between devices on a network, and means for holding virtual device information that defines a virtual device for using one communication service. The virtual device information includes a designation of processing within the communication relay device of at least one type of data and at least one type of data for each type of data to be communicated, and uses virtual devices A means for selecting a relay destination device for each data type and relaying a part of the communication to be performed according to the relay device information in the virtual device information, and a template including a description of the data type to be communicated for each communication service. And virtual device definition means for creating virtual device information for each type of data communicated by the communication service using the template.

  Therefore, it is possible to set a data relay destination device for each data type to be communicated for each virtual device to which the communication service is connected, so that the service can be used by a plurality of devices for a plurality of services. .

  In addition, it is possible to determine a device to be used for using the communication service by combining information held by the communication relay device itself or using information via an input / output unit or a network.

  Also, by determining the connection destination device for each data type according to the template described for each communication service, a combination of devices that can use the service can be created.

  Preferably, upon receiving a request for using the communication service, the virtual device definition unit creates virtual device information using the communication service template, and relays communication data of the communication service using the virtual device information.

  Therefore, when a connection request for using a communication service is received, a virtual device is dynamically configured using the service template, and the service can be used by a plurality of devices.

  Preferably, when the communication service template is not held, the communication service template is downloaded from the outside of the apparatus.

  Therefore, a virtual device that accepts a connection for using a service and can download a template from an external server or the like spontaneously without using a corresponding template and use the service using the template. Can be configured.

  Preferably, the type of data is distinguished from video data, audio data, and control data by their respective communication directions.

  Therefore, a service that exchanges audio and video data and further requires control of the service can be used by dividing the roles among a plurality of devices.

  Preferably, data to be relayed at the time of data relay is converted into a format that can be used by a relay destination device and relayed.

  Therefore, even if data in a format that cannot be handled by the device is converted into a format that can be handled by the relay device and relayed, more services can be used.

  Preferably, when the data relay destination device does not have a function of converting to a usable format, the conversion program is downloaded from the outside.

  Therefore, even if the relay device does not have a data conversion function, if a conversion program can be acquired from the outside, format conversion at the time of data relay can be performed using the conversion program.

  According to yet another aspect of the present invention, there is provided a communication relay device, an external communication interface for communicating with a first device on an external network, and a plurality of second devices on the internal network. A virtual device that retains and manages rewritable virtual device definition data for enabling services on an external network using an internal communication interface for performing communication and a plurality of second devices on the internal network The virtual device definition data defines at least one of a plurality of functions for using the service by a part of the plurality of functions of at least one second device, A device information holding unit for holding device information for using a plurality of second devices on the network by communication; an external network; A communication relay unit that performs mutual data exchange between the two networks, and the communication relay unit exchanges data between the first device and a plurality of second devices included in the virtual device definition data. Based on the definition data and device information, a template holding unit that holds a template that is data describing functions constituting a service, and a device information holding unit for each template function held by the template holding unit. It further includes a virtual device definition unit that creates virtual device definition data by allocating held device data and registers the virtual device definition data in the virtual device management unit.

  Therefore, in the communication relay device of the present invention, even if there is only a device on the internal network that does not have sufficient capability to use the communication service on the external network, a virtual device that integrates a plurality of devices communicates. By defining and registering on the relay device, the service can be used.

  Further, according to the communication relay device of the present invention, by enabling the service to handle abstract data (template) expressing individual functions, the user can freely set the device using the template, and the service The device configuration can be easily customized. In addition, when using the same service, it is possible to easily create a definition that changes the device configuration used for the same template.

  Preferably, the communication relay unit transmits / receives communication data using an external communication interface, extracts and outputs a connection request message from the received data, receives a transmission instruction, and sends a response message to the first response message. Communication data is transmitted and received using an external communication unit that transmits to the device and an internal communication interface, a response message is extracted from the received data and output, and a plurality of connection request messages are transmitted on the internal network according to the transmission instruction. An internal communication unit for transmitting to the second device and a message from the external network via the external communication unit, and a second of the second devices to receive a connection request message from the second device based on the virtual device definition data Create multiple requests to the device and output them to the internal communication unit. A message relay that creates a response message based on the response to the request sent to the network, outputs a transmission instruction to send it to the external communication unit, and extracts information related to connection establishment and disconnection necessary for using the service A session management unit that manages session information necessary for data transmission and reception based on information passed from the message relay unit, and an external communication unit and an internal communication unit according to the information of the session management unit. A data relay unit that relays data for transmitting the received data to an appropriate partner.

  Therefore, according to the communication relay device of the present invention, requests and responses are transmitted / received, and information for performing data transmission / reception is managed as a session, so that data transmission / reception to a designated device can be controlled using the information. It is possible to use the service with a plurality of devices.

  Preferably, the message relay unit creates and transmits a response message for the connection request message when all the responses to the plurality of requests created based on one connection request message are received.

  Therefore, according to the communication relay device of the present invention, it is possible to use a service that can be used only after communication with all devices included in the virtual device definition data is possible.

  Preferably, the message relay unit creates and transmits a response message for the connection request message based on initial responses to a plurality of requests created based on one connection request message.

  Therefore, according to the communication relay device of the present invention, if only one of the devices registered in the virtual device definition data can be communicated, it is possible to deal with a service that can be used thereby.

  Preferably, the virtual device definition data held by the virtual device management unit includes response creation information relating to a method of creating a response message from a response to the request to be transmitted, and the message relay unit transmits the response message based on the response creation information. create.

  Therefore, according to the communication relay device of the present invention, it is possible to describe how to handle responses from a plurality of devices in the virtual device definition data, so that services of various communication types can be used.

  Preferably, the virtual device definition data includes information indicating which second device on the internal network is to be communicated according to the transmission / reception direction and the type of data.

  Therefore, according to the communication relay device of the present invention, it is possible to control the data communication on the communication relay device using the definition in order to specify the device to be used according to the data type and communication direction to communicate for the service. It is possible to use services using multiple devices.

  Preferably, the communication relay unit includes a data conversion unit that converts the received data into data that can be handled by a destination device and transmits the data.

  Therefore, according to the communication relay device of the present invention, when data received on the communication relay device is transmitted, it has a function of converting into a format that can be received by the transmission destination. Because of the difference, it is possible to use devices that cannot be handled with raw data.

  Preferably, the communication relay unit extracts a plurality of types of data included in the received data, and transmits the data to the transmission destination device of each data type specified by the virtual device definition data.

  Therefore, according to the communication relay device of the present invention, when data in which a plurality of types of data is integrated is transmitted to the communication relay device, the data is decomposed and transmitted to each individual You can use the service using any device that can handle this data.

  Preferably, the communication relay unit integrates data received from a plurality of second devices on the internal network into one data according to the virtual device definition data, and transmits the data to a device on the external network.

  Therefore, according to the communication relay device of the present invention, when one service is used using a plurality of devices, the service partner may not be accepted as it is as output from each device. On the communication relay device, a plurality of data received from individual devices are transmitted together in a format that can be received by the other party, so that the service can be used.

  Preferably, the communication relay unit realizes any one of conversion of received data into another format, separation of received data into a plurality of data, and integration of a plurality of received data into a single data A communication holding unit includes a library holding unit that holds a necessary library program, and the communication relay unit selects the necessary library program from the library holding unit, and transmits the result using the calculation processing result.

  Therefore, according to the communication relay apparatus of the present invention, functions for performing data conversion and the like can be held and managed as a library, so that new functions can be added later as a library.

  Preferably, it further includes a library introduction unit capable of downloading a library program from a device on an external network using an external communication interface and adding the program to the library holding unit, and the communication relay unit is provided in the library holding unit. If the required library program is not available, a request is made to the library introduction section.

  Therefore, according to the communication relay device of the present invention, since the library can be obtained by downloading, the necessary library can be obtained dynamically.

  Preferably, the information processing apparatus further includes a display unit and an input unit, and the virtual device definition unit has a user interface using the display unit and the input unit, and the information held by the template holding unit and the device information holding unit by the user interface. In response to the user selecting a desired template from the presented templates, the user can further select a device to be used for each function of the desired template, thereby Generate device definition data.

  Therefore, according to the communication relay device of the present invention, since the user interface for assembling the virtual device for using the service is provided, the user can easily select the template and the device and create the configuration of the virtual device for using the service. be able to.

  Preferably, a template introduction unit for obtaining a new template using an external communication interface and adding the template to the template holding unit is further provided.

  Therefore, according to the communication relay device of the present invention, a service provider can create and distribute a template for a new service. A method of using a service by combining conventional devices can be easily provided to the user.

  Preferably, the device information holding unit registers the second device on the internal network as a default device for each function, and the template holding unit notifies the virtual device definition unit when a new template is added, Upon receiving a notification that a new template has been added, the virtual device definition unit creates and registers virtual device definition data based on the default device information held by the device information holding unit.

  Therefore, according to the communication relay device of the present invention, when a new template is downloaded to the communication relay device, the virtual device definition is automatically created using the default device specified for each function in the communication relay device. Therefore, the user can use a new service without creating virtual device definition data.

  In yet another aspect of the present invention, the communication relay device classifies communication related to the video communication service according to video and audio and a communication direction thereof, and connects each of the devices to a plurality of devices on the home network to perform the communication. Relay.

  Therefore, a communication service using video and audio can be used by a plurality of devices on the network to which the communication relay device can be connected.

  In still another aspect of the present invention, the communication relay device classifies communication in the video content distribution service into control including video data and audio data of content and authentication and charging of the video distribution, Connect to multiple devices and relay communication.

  Therefore, it is possible to request and view the video content with a plurality of devices on the network to which the communication relay device can be connected.

  That is, according to the communication relay device according to the present invention, the user can use services on the network by combining the functions of a plurality of devices.

  Alternatively, based on a template that defines the constituent functions of a service that is desired to be used, individual devices to be used can be freely selected and virtual devices for using the service can be registered in the communication relay device.

  Alternatively, when a service provider has devised a new service to be provided, the user can define a template that is decomposed into the functions necessary to use the service at the same time, so that the user can use it without any new dedicated device or application. A service can be provided by a virtual device defined using a template on a relay device.

  Alternatively, the device can support rich functions that cannot be used by itself by relaying communication regarding functions that the apparatus does not have to other communicable devices having the functions.

  Hereinafter, embodiments of the present invention will be described with reference to the drawings. In the following description, the same parts are denoted by the same reference numerals. Their names and functions are also the same. Therefore, detailed description thereof will not be repeated.

[Example 1]
FIG. 1 is a schematic block diagram for explaining the configuration of the communication relay apparatus 1000 according to the present invention and the connection of the communication relay apparatus 1000 to a network.

  Referring to FIG. 1, communication relay apparatus 1000 includes an external communication interface 11 for performing communication via an external network 113 such as the Internet, and an in-home device via an internal network 115 such as a home LAN. Using the internal communication interface 12 for communicating with the external communication interface 11, the external communication interface 11 and the internal communication interface 12, communication between the devices on the outside network 113 and the internal devices 116 and 117 on the home internal network 115 is performed. A communication relay unit 13 for relaying and a device information holding unit 14 for holding information of internal devices 116 and 117 connected to the home network 115 are provided.

  In the following description, a connection (connection) as a result of negotiation between the two parties for communication is often called a session. A session is a logical connection in which applications and the like communicate with each other in Internet technology. For example, in an Internet telephone using VoIP, signaling is performed on the side where a call is made (calling side) and the side where the call is made (called side). The session is established when an agreement is reached as a result of negotiation. Communicating using a session means exchanging voice data based on the agreement, and as a result, a voice call is realized.

  The communication relay apparatus 1000 further includes an input unit 15 such as a keyboard or a button or a mouse for a user at home to use the functions in the communication relay apparatus 1000, and information held in the communication relay apparatus 1000 by the user. A virtual device definition unit 17 that defines a virtual device by interacting with a user using the input unit 15 and the display unit 16, and a virtual device definition unit 17. Using the virtual device management unit 18 that holds and manages information related to virtual devices and the external communication interface 11, service template data defining service functions from a server machine such as a service provider on the outside network 113 is stored on the device. The template introduction unit 19 to be imported and the template data obtained by the template introduction unit 19 are transmitted. When the communication relay unit 13 relays from a server machine such as a service provider on the outside network 113 using the template holding unit 110 to be held and managed as an available service template on the relay device 1000 and the external communication interface 11. A library introduction unit 111 that obtains a conversion program used for data conversion, and a library holding unit 112 that holds and manages the program downloaded by the library introduction unit 111 on the communication relay device 1. That is, the communication relay apparatus 1000 can use the service 114 on the external network 113 from the internal devices 116 and 117 on the internal network 115.

  From the viewpoint of the communication relay device 1000 referred to here, an “external network” is a network on the side where a communication service is provided, and an “internal network” is a device for using the service via the communication relay device. The connected network. A “network” refers to a communication network that is communicable when a predetermined process for establishing communication is performed between any of a plurality of devices connected to a communication line. And Also, a plurality of devices on a certain network can communicate with devices on other networks via a “communication relay device” on the network.

  Hereinafter, an example of the configuration of the present invention will be described using a videophone service using an IP (Internet Protocol) telephone 26, a web camera 25, and a network television 27 as specific examples of the internal devices 116 and 117.

  FIG. 2 is a conceptual diagram for explaining the configuration of the videophone realized by the present invention.

  The virtual device management unit 18 on the communication relay device 1000 defines a virtual device of “virtual device 1” for using a TV phone service with an external network 113, for example, a TV phone 21 connected via the Internet. Retain data.

  FIG. 3 is a diagram illustrating an example of such virtual device definition data. In the example of FIG. 3, the virtual device definition data includes virtual device ID (virtual device 1 in this example), virtual device name, service name, service function, function, and conversion library information.

  The “virtual device ID” is identification data for the virtual device management unit 18 to identify virtual device definition data. The “virtual device name” is a name given to the virtual device, and the “service name” is a name of a service that can be used by this device.

  “Service function” is a function name of a service that can be used by this device. “Function” is information for communicating each function of the service. For example, the function is information such as “audio output”, “audio input”, “video output”, “video input”, and the like.

  Each function is not particularly limited, but is described in the following format, for example, as shown in FIG.

Function name (name of the data transmission device (in the case of an external device, “_”),
Port number of the communication relay device that receives outgoing data,
Outgoing data protocol,
Outgoing data format,
Data receiving device name (In the case of an external device, write “_”),
The port number where the data receiving device receives data,
Receive data protocol,
Receive data format)
The “conversion library” is described when there is information on the conversion library when the format differs between the transmission data and the reception data.

For information on the library for conversion,
(Input data, Output data): Library URL
Describe in.

  The communication relay unit 13 describes the above-described “virtual device definition data” as a device on the external network that is the destination of the call from the IP phone 26 on the internal network 115 or the external network device that is the communication source when the call is received. Apply to the part of “_” inside.

  Then, according to such fitting, the data received at the port written in the virtual device definition data is sent to the designated port of the designated device. As a result, data necessary for the service is relayed.

  The example in which the TV telephone service is used using the IP telephone 26, the web camera 25, the TV 27, and the communication relay apparatus 1000 has been described above.

  That is, when the TV telephone service is broken down into functions, it is composed of a function for making a voice call and a function for transmitting and receiving video. The voice telephone function is a function possessed by the IP telephone 26, and transmission / reception of video is a part of the functions originally possessed by the web camera 25 and the TV 27 connected to the network.

  Therefore, in the communication relay device 1000 according to the first embodiment, for a desired service, for example, a TV phone service, a function for using the service and a device for the function are designated, and each device having the function is designated. The data is distributed and sent, or the data received from each device is sent together. With such a communication relay device 1000, for example, by controlling the communication data by combining the functions or a part of the functions of the devices on the internal network 115 such as the IP telephone 26, the web camera 25, the TV 27, etc. Even when a dedicated device for a desired service such as a telephone service does not exist on the internal network 115, the desired service can be used.

[Example 2]
In the present invention of the first embodiment, information such as ports used for communication is written in the virtual device definition data, and in particular, communication such as ports used for communication at the time of connection request and response is not performed. Could be done.

  Also in the second embodiment described below, when the TV phone service is taken as an example, the TV phone service is used by using the IP telephone 26, the web camera 25, the TV 27, and the communication relay device 1000, and is similar to the first embodiment. Send and receive data.

  However, in the second embodiment, information for data transmission / reception is exchanged when a connection is established, and a data transmission / reception session is managed.

  As will be apparent from the following description, the configuration of the communication relay device of the second embodiment is basically the same as the configuration of the communication relay device 1000 of FIG. 1, and mainly the communication relay unit in the communication relay device 1000. The thirteen configurations and operations are characterized.

FIG. 4 is a diagram illustrating virtual device definition data of the TV phone service according to the second embodiment.
In the “virtual device definition data” shown in FIG. 4, the name (ID) of the virtual device is “TV phone 1” and “TV phone service” is used to realize the “TV phone function”. Is described.

  Furthermore, in the “virtual device definition data” shown in FIG. 4, the call origination / incoming call functions are performed by SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) and relayed to the IP phone 1 in the house. On the other hand, for voice input and voice output, data is transmitted using RTP (Realtime Transport Protocol). Encoding uses G.711.

  For video output, data is received using RTP. The data is in JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) format. For video input, data is transmitted using RTP. The data is in JPEG format.

It is a description that all of voice input / output, video input / output, outgoing call, and incoming call are necessary.
FIG. 5 is a diagram showing device information data on the home network stored in the device information holding unit 14.

  Referring to FIG. 5, the device information data describes that internal device 1 is IP phone 1 and the private IP address is 192.168.1.1. Input voice is transmitted by RTP, G.711. The output voice is received by RTP and G.711. A call is made using SIP. Incoming calls are made using SIP.

  Further, the device information data describes that the internal device 2 is the web camera 1 and the address is 192.168.1.2. For input video, SIP is used for connection, and data in JPEG format is transmitted by RTP.

  Further, the device information data describes that the internal device 3 is the television 1 and the address is 192.168.1.3. The output video uses SIP for connection and receives JPEG data by RTP.

  Virtual device definition data is stored in the virtual device management unit 18, and device information data is stored in the device information holding unit 14.

  The communication relay unit 13 relays communication using the virtual device definition data and device information data.

  FIG. 6 is a schematic block diagram illustrating a configuration of the communication relay unit 13 according to the second embodiment that performs session management of data communication in the communication relay apparatus 1000 illustrated in FIG. 1.

  FIG. 7 is a conceptual diagram showing an example of data communication connected and realized by a TV phone service.

  First, referring to FIG. 6, in communication relay unit 13, external communication unit 51 receives a packet received by external communication interface 11, analyzes the packet, extracts a received message, and then relays message relay unit 52. The message relay unit 52 transmits the message created by the message relay unit 52 to the devices on the external network 113 using the external communication interface 11, and the data relay unit 55 transmits the data received from the external network 113 to a specific port. In addition, the port is designated to the external device, and the data received from the data relay unit 55 is transmitted.

  In the example shown in FIGS. 6 and 7, the external communication unit 51 extracts the connection request message transmitted from the TV telephone 61 on the external network 113, passes it to the message relay unit 52, and further creates the message relay unit 52. Send the requested connection request.

  The message relay unit 52 receives messages such as received requests and responses from the external communication unit 51 and the internal communication unit 53, and performs relay processing. As the relay processing, the contents of the message are analyzed, information on the virtual device definition data that is the destination of the message is acquired from the virtual device management unit 18, and information on the in-home device used for the message is acquired from the device information holding unit 14, Based on this, a message transmission destination is determined and a new message is created. Then, it requests the external communication unit 51 and the internal communication unit 53 to send a message.

  Further, the message relay unit 52 relates to the establishment or cancellation of a data transmission / reception connection between the home device and the external device based on the information obtained from the message when relaying the message. Information is transferred to the session management unit 54.

  FIG. 8 and FIG. 9 are diagrams showing a flow until connection establishment when an incoming call is made to a device on the internal network 115 side in the TV telephone service.

  In the example up to session establishment shown in FIG. 8 and FIG. 9, the message relay unit 52 uses the definition information of the TV phone 1 from the connection request message (1) to (3) -a, (3) -b, (3) Create a connection request message (connection request) -c, instruct the internal communication unit 53 to transmit to each device, and further receive responses (4) -a, (4) received from the internal communication unit 53 A connection request response message (6) is created based on -b and (4) -c, and the external communication unit 51 is instructed to transmit.

  8 and 9, the internal communication unit 53 receives the packet received by the internal communication interface 12, analyzes the packet, extracts the received message, passes it to the message relay unit 52, and further passes the internal communication interface 12. The message generated by the message relay unit 52 is transmitted to the device on the internal network 115, and the data received from the internal network 115 to the specific port is transferred to the data relay unit 55, and the port is transmitted to the internal device. Is received and data received from the data relay unit 55 is transmitted.

  First, FIG. 8 shows an example in which an incoming call is received from the outside. The internal communication unit 53 sends connection requests (3) -a, (3) -b, and (3) -c created by the message relay unit 52 to each device. In addition, the responses (4) -a, (4) -b, and (4) -c received from each device are transferred to the message relay unit 52.

  The session management unit 54 acquires information about establishment and cancellation of data transmission / reception connections from the message relay unit 52, holds and manages session information for relaying data on the communication relay device, and the data relay unit 55 Instructs how to relay data.

  Next, as shown in FIG. 9, in order to make a call from a device on the internal network 115 side, a SIP connection request is transmitted from the IP telephone 166 to the communication relay apparatus 1000. At that time, the IP phone 166 needs to specify which virtual device makes an external call to the communication relay apparatus 1000 at the time of the call. Since the IP phone 116 has a function of setting an arbitrary address in the “From line” indicating the source and requesting connection, the communication relay device can determine which virtual device is used from the “From line”. When the TV phone 1 is designated, a connection request is made to all devices (web camera 1 65, television 67) necessary for using the service, and the connection is established with all the devices, and then transmitted to the TV phone 61.

  FIG. 10 is a diagram showing an example of session information data created based on information delivered from the message relay unit 52 in the case of the TV phone in FIG.

  Referring to FIG. 10, session identification information sessionID for identifying a session uses call identification information call-ID in the example of the TV phone of FIG. The following information is sent from the message relay unit 52 to the session management unit 54 when the TV phone is established.

・ External voice destination (12345 @ TV phone, TV phone: port2-1A, RTP, G.711)
・ External video transmission destination (12345 @ TV phone, TV phone: port2-1V, RTP, JPEG)
・ Voice receiving port (12345 @ TV phone, port2-3Ao, RTP, G.711)
・ Video reception port from outside (12345 @ TV phone, port2-3Vo, RTP, JPEG)
・ Internal voice transmission destination (12345 @ TV phone, IP phone 1: port2-6A, RTP, G.711)
・ Internal video transmission destination (12345 @ TV phone, TV 1: port2-7V, RTP, JPEG)
・ Voice receiving port (12345 @ TV phone, port2-3Ai, RTP, G.711)
・ Video reception port from inside (12345 @ TV phone, port2-3Vi, RTP, JPEG)
Based on this information, the session management unit 54 creates session information data for relaying data communication by combining the same type of data internally and externally.

  The data relay unit 55 uses the external communication interface 11 and the internal communication interface 12 in cooperation with the external communication unit 51 and the internal communication unit 52 in accordance with the session information created and managed by the session management unit 54. Send and receive.

The session management unit 54 manages sessions based on session information data.
The data format of the session information data shown in FIG. 10 includes an ID for identifying a session by the session management unit 54 and relay information for relaying data.

  “Relay information” includes data transmission (OUT → IN) from the external network 113 to the internal network 115 and data communication (IN → OUT) from the internal network to the external network for each data type (audio, video, etc.). Includes two types of relay definitions.

Although the definition of each relay is not specifically limited, For example, it describes as follows.
((Data transmission source device, port that receives data at relay device, protocol, data format),
Data conversion library information,
(Data transmission destination device, data receiving device receiving port, protocol, data format)
In the case of FIG. 10, since the data types handled by both devices are the same as G.711 and JPEG, there is no data conversion library information and “_” is described.

  The data relay unit 55 monitors the port that is to receive data in the session information data held by the session management unit 54, and the received data is the destination device specified in the session information data Send to the port.

  As described above, the message relay unit 52 performs the connection process of FIG. 8, and the session management unit 54 that receives the result performs session management with the session information data of FIG. 10, and the data relay unit 55 performs the session management unit. Data transmission / reception shown in FIG. 7 is performed based on the session information data of FIG.

  That is, in the example described above, FIG. 8 shows the flow up to the establishment of the connection in the example of the TV phone, whereby data transmission / reception of the TV phone as shown in FIG. 7 is performed.

  Based on the above description, FIG. 8 showing information of connection request and response messages will be described in more detail.

  In FIG. 8, the message is not the message data itself but the main information included therein. Further, although the connection is an example using SIP, the connection is not limited thereto.

  (1) A connection request (call) is made from the TV telephone 61 to the “virtual device 1” on the communication relay device 1000 using SIP. The connection request message includes port information (port 6-1A, port 6-1V) on which the TV phone 61 receives audio and video data.

  (2) The communication relay apparatus 1000 receives the connection request message at the communication relay unit 57. Since it can be seen from the message that it is a connection request to “TV phone 1”, the virtual device definition data in the virtual device management unit 18 is referred to. The communication relay apparatus 1000 recognizes that the calling / incoming device, the voice input / output device is the IP phone 1, the video input device is the web camera 1, and the video output device is the television 1.

  (3) The communication relay unit 13 of the communication relay apparatus 1000 obtains information on the IP telephone 1, the web camera 1, and the television 1 that are incoming call function devices from the device information holding unit 14, and inputs / outputs voice to / from the IP telephone 1. Connection request ((3) -a), a connection request for video input ((3) -b) to the web camera 1, and a connection request ((3) -c) for video output to the web camera 1. The connection request includes port information for receiving data by the communication relay device 1000 after connection. An audio reception port (port 6-3Ai) is designated for the IP phone 1, and a video reception port (port 6-3Vi) is designated for the web camera 1.

  (4) The IP phone 1 receives the connection request from the communication relay device 1000, rings the ringing tone, and returns a response to the communication relay unit 57 when the user hooks up ((4) -a), enabling data communication. Become. This response includes port information (port 6-6A) for receiving voice. The web camera 1 receives a connection request for video input, confirms the transmission destination of the video data included therein, and returns a response ((4) -b). At the same time, the video data transmission destination included in the connection request there. Start sending video. The television 1 receives a connection request for video output and returns a response including port information (port 2-7V) to which video data is transmitted ((4) -c).

  (5) Upon receiving all responses to the transmitted three connection requests, the communication relay unit 13 creates a response message to be returned to the TV phone 61. If all is OK, OK is returned, and if any is not OK, connection failure is returned. In the case of OK, the response message includes port information (port 6-3Ao, port 6-3Vo) for the communication relay device 1000 to accept audio data and video data as the TV phone 1.

(6) The response created in (5) is transmitted to the TV phone 61.
In the example of the TV phone service described above, as shown in FIG. 8, it is necessary to make the service available only after receiving a response to a request to all devices in response to a connection request (connection request). The communication relay unit 13 in the communication relay apparatus 1000 waits for responses from all the transmitted requests and returns responses to the TV phone.

  With such a configuration, transmission and reception of requests and responses are performed, and information for performing data transmission and reception is managed as a session, so that it is possible to control data transmission and reception to a designated device using a plurality of devices. The service can be used. Furthermore, it is possible to use a service that can be used only after communication with all devices included in the virtual device definition data is possible.

[Example 3]
FIG. 11 is a conceptual diagram illustrating an example of service usage using a virtual device different from the TV phone service of FIG. 3 using the communication relay device 1000 of the third embodiment.

It is assumed that there are two IP telephones (IP phone 1 95 and IP phone 296) in the house.
FIG. 12 is a diagram showing virtual device definition data in the configuration of FIG. By defining a virtual device as shown in FIG. 12, any IP telephones 95 and 96 can receive incoming calls.

  The communication relay device 1000 is the same as the communication relay device of the second embodiment in that a connection request is made to each of the function lists in the virtual device definition data, but a data transmission / reception session is performed only with the device that has responded first. And a message relay unit 52 that cancels other connection requests.

  In the definition data of FIG. 12, IP phone 1 95 and IP phone 3 96 having the IP phone function are registered as slave units, and when there is an incoming call, a connection request is made to both IP phone 1 95 and IP phone 3 96. . The communication relay apparatus 1000 according to the third embodiment connects only to the response that has been received first, and transmits a message for canceling the connection request to the other devices, and then performs data transmission / reception with the connected device.

  In this way, the service can be used by using the first device that can communicate with the device registered in the virtual device definition data.

[Example 4]
In the example described above, the response method of the message relay unit 52 is fixed.

  The communication relay apparatus 1000 according to the fourth embodiment described below can respond to more flexible requests.

FIG. 13 is an example of virtual device definition data according to the fourth embodiment.
As shown in FIG. 13, as an example of the virtual device definition data, whether a function is an indispensable function is described by separating it with a comma (,) and a slash (/).

  The message relay unit 52 refers to the virtual device definition data, and sends requests for both functions separated by commas and functions separated by slashes.

  Correspondingly, for a comma-delimited list, a response message is created after all responses are returned. On the other hand, for the ones delimited by slashes, if any one response to each request is returned, a response message is created using only that response.

  In the case of the virtual device data example of FIG. 13, a connection request is transmitted to IP phone 1 and IP phone 3, but if there is an OK response first from IP phone 1, data transmission / reception between that device and the external device is performed. A session is established and a message for canceling the connection request is sent to the IP telephone 3.

  An example in which an IP telephone as shown in FIG. 11 is used as a slave can be implemented by the above-described virtual device definition data shown in FIG. 13 and a communication relay device having a message relay unit that performs the processing as described above.

  Since it is possible to describe how to handle responses from a plurality of devices in the virtual device definition data, services of various communication types can be used.

[Example 5]
Compared with the third embodiment, in the fifth embodiment, for example, a description will be given of a configuration in the case of a videophone service where the data type is the same but the format and encoding of the data to be communicated are different. Therefore, the configuration of the communication relay device 1000 of the fifth embodiment is basically the same as that of the third embodiment.

  FIG. 14 is a conceptual diagram for explaining processing performed by the data relay unit 55 of the communication relay device 1000 according to the fifth embodiment.

  FIG. 14 illustrates that the data relay unit 55 converts the audio data format into one that can be handled by the transmission destination and transmits the converted data.

  FIG. 15 is a diagram showing the virtual device definition data of FIG. This virtual device definition data includes G.711 and G.723.1 mutual conversion library source information so that the TV phone service can exchange G.711 audio data by RTP and support different data formats. It is.

  FIG. 16 shows device information data which is information on internal devices. The device information data describes that the IP phone 2 126 handles G.723.1 for the voice data.

  FIG. 17 is a diagram showing session data generated when connected from the data of FIGS. 15 and 16. Information about the URL for obtaining the library for conversion is taken from the virtual device definition data.

  In the session establishment process described with reference to FIG. 8, the data relay unit 55 specifies the format of the input data and the output data when the received data and the transmitted data are different in the session information data, and converts the data. The unit 56 has a function of generating a process for converting data into a format that can be transmitted, communicating with the process, and acquiring and transmitting data in the transmission data format.

  If the data conversion unit 56 cannot convert, it notifies the session management unit 54 that it cannot relay. The session management unit 54 instructs the message relay unit 52 to throw a message for disconnecting each connection in order to delete the session.

  When the data conversion unit 56 receives the request by specifying the format of the input data and the output data from the data relay unit 55, the data conversion unit 56 performs the conversion according to the format of the input data and the output data, and converts the data relay unit 55 and the input / output data. It has a function to start a conversion process that can be exchanged.

  The data conversion actually performed in the process may be performed by using the device built-in codec conversion in the data conversion unit 56 or by software conversion called a conversion library. In either case, the data relay unit 55 and the data conversion unit 56 are each implemented as one process, exchange data by inter-process communication, convert data received from the data relay unit 55, and then convert the data relay unit 55. Send back to.

  When the data conversion unit 56 has a codec conversion function using a function supported by hardware, the data conversion unit 56 does not use a conversion library but uses a built-in return function.

  With the above configuration, when transmitting data received on the communication relay device, it has the function of converting to a format that can be received by the destination, so the data type is the same, but the format, codec, etc. are different, so You can also use devices that cannot be handled with this data.

  The conversion library is a program for converting data from the input data stream and writing it to the output data stream, and is held in the library holding unit 112 for each input data format and output data format.

  When the data conversion unit 56 does not have a conversion function, the data conversion unit 56 specifies the input / output data format to the library holding unit 112 and instructs to start the conversion program. Information for inter-process communication is bridged so that input data from the data relay unit 55 becomes input to the conversion program and output of the conversion program becomes output data to the data relay unit 55.

  The conversion program in the library holding unit 112 is a program that can be executed on the relay apparatus 1000, and is activated by specifying a process communication data stream for input / output. When called from the data converter 56, information on the input / output data stream is passed. When this conversion program is started, it causes one process, converts the data from the input data stream passed from the data conversion unit 56, and writes the result to the output data stream to the data conversion unit 56 It is.

  Since the library holding unit 112 holds an input / output data format and a table of program entities, the data conversion unit 56 can be activated by designating the input / output data format and data stream.

  As described above, the data conversion procedure can be separately held and managed as a library by performing communication after using the program held in the library holding unit 112 to perform data conversion. Therefore, it is possible to add a new function as a library later.

  Here, if there is no appropriate library in the library holding unit 112, the data conversion unit 56 acquires the input / output data format and the URL of the library acquisition source from the session information data from the data relay unit 55, and sends it to the library introduction unit 111. On the other hand, use it to request library download. The library introduction unit 111 downloads a program based on the URL included in the received download request, and registers the downloaded program together with the input / output data format in the library holding unit 112. If the library introduction unit 111 succeeds in obtaining the library, the library introduction unit 111 requests the data conversion unit 56 to perform conversion again.

  Since the library can be obtained by downloading as described above, the necessary library can be obtained dynamically.

[Example 6]
FIG. 18 is a diagram illustrating an example of virtual device definition data for implementing the videophone according to the sixth embodiment.

  In this case, the “TV phone service 2” communicates mpeg-2 data including both audio and video data. As a library, mpeg-2 data can be separated into G.711 audio data and JPEG video data, and conversely, G.711 audio data and JPEG video data are combined to create mpeg-2 data. The tool is registered in the virtual definition data.

FIG. 19 is a conceptual diagram illustrating processing performed by the communication relay device 1000 according to the sixth embodiment.
Referring to FIG. 19, when message relay unit 52 of communication relay apparatus 1000 receives a connection request, data from videophone 171 is converted into video and audio from the library input / output data format in virtual definition data of FIG. It has a function of determining that it is only necessary to connect to a device having each capability and communicate. Therefore, when the device information data is the same as that in FIG. 4, a connection as shown in FIG. 19 is established.

  FIG. 20 is a diagram showing session information data generated in the communication as shown in FIG.

  Also in this case, since the data relay unit 55 relays data based on the session information data of FIG. 20, the mpeg-2 data reaching port 17-3AVo is ftp://lib.com/mpeg2-711JPEG G.711 audio data and JPEG video data are extracted from the library obtained from the library holding unit 112 from .lib and sent to port 17-6A and port 17-7V of IP phone 1 176 and television 1 177, respectively. .

  Conversely, JPEG video data that reaches port17-3Vi and G.711 audio data that reaches port7-3Ai are mpeged using the library obtained from the library holding unit 112 from ftp://lib.com/711JPEG-mpeg2.lib. -2 Integrated into data and sent to port 17-1AV of TV phone 171.

  With the configuration as described above, when data in which a plurality of types of data are integrated is transmitted to the communication relay device, it can be handled by disassembling and transmitting the individual data. Services can be used using equipment.

  Also, when using a single service using multiple devices, even if the service partner cannot be accepted as it is as output from the individual devices, multiple data received from the individual devices on the communication relay device Can be used to send the services in a format that can be received by the other party.

[Example 7]
The communication relay device 1000 according to the seventh embodiment described below uses a data “template” representing a function necessary for a service for creating the virtual device definition data used in the first to sixth embodiments. is there.

  The “template” referred to in the present invention is a description of capabilities required to use a communication service, and can also be referred to as information on the functional configuration of the service. Such template data is held in the template holding unit 110 shown in FIG. 1, and the virtual device definition unit 17 uses the template data in the template holding unit 110 and the device data in the device information holding unit 14 as virtual device definition data. Create

  The template data can be input using the input unit 15 and registered in the template holding unit 110, or can be obtained by downloading from the external network 113 side where the service is provided by specifying a URL. You can also register.

  In the following description, it is assumed that the user first inputs template data from the input unit 15.

  FIG. 21 is a diagram illustrating an example of template data held in the template holding unit 110.

  The template 1 defines a TV phone function, and expresses that it is composed of three functions of voice telephone, video input, and video output.

  Template 2 also defines the videophone function, but is subdivided into five types: telephone call control, voice input, voice output, video input, and video output.

As described above, even the same function can be expressed differently depending on the level of the function.
For example, even if there is no template 2 definition itself, if there is a template 3 that defines a voice telephone function, the virtual device definition can be combined with the template 1 to configure a virtual device similar to the template 2 It can also be applied to the part 17.

  As for the telephone type call control function, like the template 4, the function can be disassembled by using the template for the function of outgoing and incoming calls, and the hierarchical function can be expressed.

  FIG. 22 is a diagram illustrating the transition of internal data until virtual device definition data is created by the virtual device definition unit 17.

  That is, the virtual device definition unit 17 designates the TV phone service 1 from the template group in FIG. 21 and the device information data shown in FIG. 5, and creates virtual device definition data according to the processing shown in FIG. .

(1) Template 1 or template 2 is selected as a template of service name “TV phone service 1”. (In FIG. 21, template 2 is selected)
(2) If there is a service function of another template among the constituent functions, the function is detailed by that.

  (3) Devices having each function of the template data are extracted from the device information data of the device information holding unit 14.

  (4) A virtual device ID is issued from the virtual device management unit 18, a virtual device name is assigned, and data in a virtual device definition data format is created.

  Here, when a new device is registered in the device information holding unit 14, it is transmitted to the virtual device definition unit 17, and the virtual device definition unit 17 holds a template having the function of the device as a template. The virtual device can be defined by extracting from the unit 110 and using it.

  In this way, by enabling the service to handle abstract data (templates) expressing individual functions, the user can freely set the device using the template, and the device configuration for using the service can be customized. It becomes easy. In addition, when using the same service, it is possible to easily create a definition that changes the device configuration used for the same template.

  In order to define a new virtual device, it is necessary for the user to specify a new virtual device creation instruction or a template or a device to be used for the communication relay device. 16 is used.

In the seventh embodiment, a GUI (Graphical User Interface) is used as follows.
FIG. 23 is a flowchart for explaining such processing by the GUI. FIG. 24 is a diagram specifically showing a GUI when a template is designated and an internal device is assigned to each component function thereof.

  The virtual device definition unit 17 has a GUI, and creates and registers a virtual device from the template according to the procedure shown in FIGS.

  The flow when the user interactively creates and registers a virtual device using the GUI included in the virtual device definition unit 17 is shown below.

  Referring to FIGS. 23 and 24, first, the user presses a “virtual device creation” button (step S102).

  In response, the virtual device creation screen appears. A list of services that can be used by virtual devices created from the templates held by the template holding unit 110 is displayed (step S104).

The user selects a service from the list (step S106).
When there are a plurality of templates in the service (step S108), a plurality of templates are displayed and selected from them (step S110).

  On the other hand, if there is only one template (step S108), that template is automatically selected.

  Subsequently, a device setting screen is displayed. A list of selected templates and functions is displayed (step S112).

  When the user selects a function, a device or template name for using the function is displayed, so that a desired one is selected (step S114).

  If a device is selected, the device is set and the display returns to the function list (step S112). FIG. 24 shows the processing so far.

  When a template is selected (step S114), a function list expanded using the template data is displayed (step S118).

  When a device is selected for all functions (step S120), a registration button can be selected. When the user presses the registration button (step S122), it is registered in the virtual device management unit 18 (step S124).

  In other words, when the device designation is completed for all functions, a registration button appears. When selected, the device can be registered as a virtual device. If cancel is selected, the process selection screen is displayed without registration.

  With the configuration as described above, since the GUI for assembling the virtual device for using the service is provided, the user can easily select the template and the device and create the configuration of the virtual device for using the service.

[Modification of Example 7]
In the modification of the seventh embodiment, the template data is configured to be given by the service provider from the external network 113 side where the service is provided.

  Therefore, according to the communication relay apparatus 1000 of the modification of the seventh embodiment, a service provider can create and distribute a template for a new service. For this reason, it is possible to easily provide a user with a method of using a service by combining devices already existing in the home.

  The template introduction unit 19 has a GUI using the input unit 15 and the display unit 16, downloads the template data of the URL specified thereby from the external network 113, and adds the data to the template holding unit 110.

  On the other hand, the device information holding unit 14 registers a default device for a capability from among a registered device and a function for registering information on a home device, and further displays a GUI for using the input unit 15 and the display unit 16. provide.

  FIG. 25 is a diagram illustrating an example of a registration table for managing default devices managed by the device information holding unit 14.

  A default device is registered as a pair of capability type name and device name in the device information data held by the device information holding unit 14.

FIG. 26 is a diagram showing a registration screen.
When the list of default devices is displayed, if you select the device you want to change (video output default device “TV 1”), a list of selectable video output devices is displayed. Be changed. When the registration button is pressed, it is registered in the registration table of the device information holding unit 14.

  In addition, the template holding unit 110 has a function of contacting the virtual device definition unit 17 when a new template is registered.

  Upon receiving the notification, the virtual device definition unit 17 designates a newly added template and automatically starts creating a virtual device. This process is basically the same as the process described with reference to FIG. However, at that time, when a device is selected in the creation of a virtual device in FIG. 22, a default device registration table held by the device information holding unit 14 is inquired, and virtual device definition data is created using it.

Since the following processing is the same as that of Example 7, the description thereof will not be repeated.
With the above configuration, when a new template is downloaded to the communication relay device, the virtual device definition can be automatically created using the default device specified for each function in the communication relay device. Will be able to use new services without creating virtual device definition data.

  As described above, in the modified examples of the first to seventh embodiments, the virtual device and the template for mainly using the TV phone service have been described as examples. However, the present invention is not limited to these configurations. .

  For example, for some other service applications, for example, for services such as online video-on-demand, by defining a virtual set-top box on the communication repeater, It is also possible to define a control device using a remote controller or a PC. Communication for control is performed between the control device and a server outside the house, and authentication and program selection are performed, and video and audio output is transmitted from the external server to the registered TV.

  Also, for example, considering a service that integrates video and audio input from a web camera and microphone and sends them outside the home, the audio and video are integrated on the gateway, and audio and video such as MPEG are integrated. It is also possible with the above-mentioned communication relay device to transmit data as integrated data.

  Up to now, in the first to seventh embodiments, the present invention is used as a home gateway device to relay services between two different networks using an example of using services on the Internet using a plurality of devices on a home network. Although the embodiment of the communication relay device has been described, the communication relay device of the present invention is not limited to use between different networks. Further, the present invention is not limited to those in which virtual devices are defined in the relay device in advance and relayed accordingly.

  For example, FIG. 27 shows an example of a configuration in which a device is specified by a request and relayed in a service that provides video content within a single home network.

  The content controller 3006 transmits to the communication relay device 3002 a request specifying the content ID held by the video content server 3001 and the device used to view it. The communication relay device 3002 establishes a communication session for receiving the designated content with the video content server 3001. In this session, video content with MPEG-2 audio is stream-distributed to the communication relay device 3002. On the other hand, when the stereo TV 3003 is designated alone as a device for viewing content, a session for transmitting the above-mentioned MPEG2 (Moving Picture Expert Group 2) video content data is transmitted to the stereo TV 3003. When a different device is specified for each medium, such as a monaural TV 3004 for video and a stereo 3005 for audio for each medium, a video and audio data are separated from MPEG2 data, and a session for transmitting each is monaural. Established in each of the TV 3004 and the stereo 3005, the video content data is relayed.

  FIG. 28 is a diagram illustrating a configuration of a communication relay device 3002 that performs the processing described in FIG.

  The communication relay device 3002 includes a communication interface 3101 that connects to a home LAN that supports TCP / IP and communicates with devices connected to the home LAN.

  The request analysis unit 3102 monitors data received at a predetermined request reception port of the communication interface 3101, extracts information on the content server, content, and viewing device from the received data according to the request format, and designates it. Request the source communication unit 3103 and the target communication unit 3104 to establish a session.

  In accordance with a request from the request analysis unit 3102, the source communication unit 3103 performs processing for establishing a session for receiving content on a designated content server (video content server 3001).

  The target communication unit 3104 makes a session establishment request for content reception to the viewing device designated by the request analysis unit 3102. At this time, there is a case where establishment of a data transmission session to different devices is specified by dividing the data type.

  Upon confirming the respective session establishment of the source communication unit 3103 and the target communication unit 3104, the request analysis unit 3102 specifies a content ID to the source communication unit 3103 and requests the content server (video content server 3001) to start content transmission. Let

  In addition, the established session is designated and the communication relay unit 3105 is instructed to relay the received data. At this time, if the communication relay unit 3105 determines from the information negotiated in the established session that the received data separation relay or codec conversion relay is necessary, the communication relay unit 3105 performs processing such as separation and conversion in accordance with the received data relay relay. To do.

  In this embodiment, the request analysis unit 3102 issues a session establishment instruction directly to the source communication unit 3103 and the target communication unit 3104 from the analysis result.

FIG. 29 shows an example of the format of a relay request.
The request format shown in FIG. 29 is information for relaying data to a device designated for each data type, and the request format itself corresponds to virtual device information.

  Referring to FIG. 29, the request format can specify the source side and the target side, respectively, so that the device ID, connection, data communication protocol, data type including data format, supplementary information for content specification and authentication It consists of In the case of the example in FIG. 29, from the contents described in {} following the source, a session is established with the serverID device by SIP and MPEG2 AV data is communicated by RTP. The content to be communicated is specified by contentID and can be authenticated by the user name papa and the password passwd. In {} following the target, the relay destination establishes a session for each of the target ID1 and targetID2 devices using SIP, and transmits MPEG2 video and mp3 audio using RTP. In the example of FIG. 27, the video content server 3001 is specified by serverID, the monaural TV 3004 is specified by targetID1 and targetID2, and the stereo 3005 is specified for audio.

  As in the embodiment described with reference to FIGS. 27 to 28, the received request can be analyzed, and communication can be relayed between sessions set up on a designated device for each data type.

  The communication relay device 3002 can be used for purposes other than viewing AV content at home. For example, it can be used for video communication in a room apart from the home.

  FIG. 30 is a diagram illustrating a connection example in the case where video communication is performed in a room apart from the home.

  The IP phone 3301 designates the IP phone 3301 that transmits and receives audio, the TV 3302 that outputs the video, and the video server 3303 that provides the video source as the source side, and makes a call to the TV phone client on the PC 3305, thereby calling the video server The voice conversation can be performed while the video provided by is output to the TV 3302 and the PC 3305.

  FIG. 31 is a diagram illustrating a request transmitted first when relaying in FIG. 30 is performed. In order to specify a session to be relayed, a plurality of pairs of source and target are specified in this way. As a result, it is possible to request the voice to relay data transmission / reception between the IP telephone 3301 and the PC 3305 and transmission of the video of the video server 3303 to both the PC 3305 and the TV 3302.

  Furthermore, as shown in FIG. 32, information may be added to the shared video and shared with the other party.

  For example, when a relay switching request for “add information” is transmitted from the PC 3305, the communication relay apparatus 3002 transmits the original video from the video server 3303 only to the PC 3305 from the timing when the request is received, and the user operates the mouse with the PC 3305. Then, the processed video with additional information such as focus is transmitted to the PC 3305. The PC 3305 relays the processed video to the TV 3302 and the PC 3305 as communication video.

  FIG. 33 is a diagram illustrating an example of a relay switching request transmitted from the PC 3305 to the communication relay device 3002 at that time. Source and target information of IP telephone 3301 and PC 3305 for voice communication, original video providing relay for transmitting original video from video server 3303 to PC 3305, and processed video sharing relay for sharing video processed by PC 3305 for communication It consists of three groups.

  In the embodiment shown in FIG. 27 to FIG. 33, the communication relay device creates a set of devices to be connected for each data type in advance as in the first to seventh embodiments, and connects to it. It can be said that this is an example of a dynamic virtual device configuration in which a connection destination is designated for each data type when actually relaying using a connection request request. In addition, the device configuration is specifically specified in the request, but the specific device is not specified, and the template corresponding to the service at the connection destination is selected using the template described in the seventh embodiment. There is also an embodiment of a dynamic virtual device configuration in which a communication relay device selects a device that can use a service, connects and relays communication.

  FIG. 34 is a communication relay that establishes a session by dynamically selecting a device from a request based on a template that is information on the type of data communicated by a service and information on a device connected to the network (device information). It is a figure which shows the structure of the communication relay apparatus 3700 which makes a service available by a some apparatus by doing.

  The communication interface 3701 is an interface for connecting the communication relay device 3700 to a network and communicating with a device on the network. When connecting to two networks such as the Internet and a home LAN, the communication interface 3701 has a communication interface for each, and by specifying each, it is possible to communicate with devices on both networks.

  The request analysis unit 3702 receives a communication relay request from a device on the network and analyzes the content. The request received by the request analysis unit 3702 is a SIP connection request in which the service name to be used is specified as the user name of the SIP URL. If “TV phone service 1” is specified in the template of FIG. ”And“ Template 2 ”are selected. In the case where a plurality of templates are selected, a template having the same service name is designated by default, and the template management unit 3704 holds it.

  Based on the analysis result of the request analysis unit 3702, the template selection unit 3703 acquires a template for virtual device configuration from the connection destination device or the service type used and the template from the template management unit 3704.

  The template management unit 3704 specifies the type of connection destination device or service, searches for a template to be held, or a template that can be used from the connection destination device or template server, and returns the template to the template selection unit 3703. .

  For example, when an incoming call is received from a videophone service on the Internet, the device information management unit 3705 is inquired. If it is found that the designated IP telephone does not support the videophone service, the template held by the template management unit 3704 or the template on the Internet A template matching the designated TV phone service is downloaded from the server and returned to the template selection unit 3703.

  The template selection unit 3703 designates the returned template and requests the virtual device configuration unit 3706 to configure the virtual device. When a plurality of templates are returned, the connection destination device or the communication relay apparatus 3700 inquires the user which template is to be used. The virtual device configuration unit 3706 selects a device satisfying each function described in the template from the device information management unit 3705 and creates virtual device definition data. The creation of the virtual device definition data from the template is the same as that in the seventh embodiment, and the details are omitted.

  The created virtual device definition data is designated and a session establishment unit 3707 is requested to establish a session for relaying communication.

  The session establishment unit 3707 makes a session establishment request for communicating predetermined data to each device constituting the virtual device definition data. When all the sessions with the devices constituting the virtual device are established, the session with the request source is also established, and the information of all the sessions is passed to the communication relay unit 3708.

  The communication relay unit 3708 relays the data received in each session according to the session information received from the session establishment unit 3707 and transmits it to an appropriate session. It has a function of converting when there is a difference in codec and format of data to be relayed, and includes a function of adding a conversion function by downloading from outside if conversion is impossible.

  By implementing the communication relay apparatus having the configuration shown in FIG. 34 as described above, a virtual device is dynamically specified using a specified service template by designating a service without specifying a virtual device. Information data can be created and relaying that enables service use can be performed in the same manner as in claims 1 to 7.

  One method of attaching additional information such as focus to content in voice communication by sharing content is shown in FIG. 32 and FIG. 33, but other conventional sessions remain as they are and additional information and video to be added to the video. There is also an embodiment in which the timing information to be added is transmitted to the relay device and is transmitted to both video output devices in which information is added to the video stored in the relay device. FIG. 35 is a diagram showing a communication session and request transmission in this example.

  In addition, as shown in FIG. 36, there is an embodiment in which a session relayed by a request is added. In FIG. 36 (a), a request specifying the video server 3903 and the TV 3902 is transmitted from the IP telephone while the voice call is being performed between the PC and the IP telephone. The communication relay device 3002 analyzes the request and, in addition to the voice call session relayed between the current PC 3905 and the IP phone 3901, as shown in FIG. 36B, receives video content from the video server 3903. While sharing a video content by establishing a new session for receiving and a video transmission session to the TV 3902 for outputting video content on the TV, and further updating the session with the PC 3905 to be capable of transmitting video. Continue call communication.

  FIG. 37 is a diagram showing an example of a message for adding a new session to an already established session. In the relay request described above, an already established session is specified by a session ID ("3901a" in FIG. 37), and relay information to be added to it is described. In FIG. 37, it is described that a request to relay the video of the video server 3903 to the PC 3905 and the TV 3902 is made.

  As described above, in the present invention, in addition to selecting and relaying a device from the beginning, a device to be relayed dynamically can be added, and a device can be specified, connected, and communicated for each data type to use the service. A communication relay device can be realized.

  As an example of adding a device to be dynamically relayed, for example, when a request for connection is made triggered by receiving a request for processing for creating and registering virtual device definition data of Examples 1 to 7, the operation is performed at that time. Since it can be realized by adding a device to be relayed automatically, the data format handled inside the communication relay device such as virtual device definition data can be the same. Of course, the present invention is not limited to this data format.

  So far, the types of data have been described using examples of data categories such as audio data and video data. However, the present invention is not limited to this.

  For example, for video data, the type of data can be defined such that the display data is large and small, the large data is on the TV, and the small data is on the liquid crystal display of the IP telephone. As a similar classification, in the audio system, it can be defined by various types such as a difference between stereo and monaural, sampling frequency, and type of codec. In addition to the above sizes, the video can also be classified by the type of codec and the number of colors. In addition, it is possible to classify with streaming data, static file data such as still images, and control message data.

  FIG. 38 is a diagram illustrating an example in which the video-on-demand service is used in cooperation with a plurality of devices using the communication relay device 4102. In this example, the video-on-demand service includes an EPG program operating on a PDA (Personal Digital Assistance) that can be used by the video-on-demand service server 4101 for content information reference and content selection, and file data of content information data. When a request for a program selected by using this is received, content data is transmitted by streaming after performing authentication processing for billing.

  When receiving a video on demand service start request from the PDA 4106, the communication relay apparatus 4102 establishes a session for using the service with the video on demand service server 4101. As shown in FIG. 38, the session established by this is downloading a content information file including an EPG (Electronic Program Guide), specifying content, controlling content streaming, authentication for billing, exchange of billing, and actually content. It includes an element of data streaming.

  The communication relay apparatus 4102 makes it possible to use the service by relaying communication in these video-on-demand service use sessions by designating a connection destination device for each element.

  Specifically, the content information file including the EPG is downloaded to the PDA 4106 used as a remote controller by the communication relay apparatus 4102. Content designation and content streaming control are performed by transmitting an HTTP request from the PDA 4106. Further, the communication relay device 4102 performs authentication for billing, exchanges of billing to the cellular phone 4105 to use the billing service of the cellular phone, video as content data to the TV 4103, and voice as content data to The stereo 4104 is connected to a device in charge of each role and relays each communication so that the service can be used.

  Furthermore, although it demonstrated by the form implemented as exclusive relay apparatuses, such as a home gateway, it is not limited to it so far. There is an embodiment in which a device using a service on a network relays communication to an available device when a plus alpha function is requested.

  FIG. 39 shows an example in which when an IP phone receives a TV phone service connection request, it relays communication to the TV or web camera to make a video phone call. In this case, the IP telephone 4201 corresponds to the communication relay device of the present invention. In this case, input of own video in the TV telephone service is performed from the web camera 4204 and output of the other party's video is performed by communication with the TV 4203, but voice input / output is performed by own function without relaying data. In other words, it is not limited to relaying all data communicated by the service, and some may be terminated and processed by itself.

FIG. 40 is a sequence diagram until a videophone call is established in the example of FIG.
The video phone 4202 makes a video phone call to the IP phone 4201. Since SIP is used as the session establishment protocol, a request for session establishment by an INVITE message (43-1) is transmitted to the IP telephone 4201 by specifying video and audio media. When the IP telephone 4201 receives the INVITE message (43-1), the IP telephone 4201 knows that media (video) that it does not support is included. IP phone 4201 is requested, but for media that it does not support itself, devices that support video input / output can be searched on the network, video can be output with TV 4203, and video can be input with web camera 4204 Therefore, it is confirmed on the screen of the liquid crystal display of the IP telephone 4201 whether to communicate with the user using the TV 4203 and the web camera 4204. If the user approves, a request for establishing a video communication session is made to each of the TV 4203 and the web camera 4204 (43-2out, 43-2in). Each of the TV 4203 and the web camera 4204 responds to establishment of a video data transmission / reception session with the IP telephone 4201. When an OK message is returned as in messages (43-3out) and (43-3in), a session is established, and the IP telephone 4201 also performs a voice call hookup, the IP telephone 4201 receives the INVITE message. As a response to (43-1), an OK message (43-4) is returned, and a TV phone session is established with the TV phone 4202. The IP telephone 4201 relays the video of the web camera 4204 to the TV telephone 4202 and transmits the video data from the TV telephone 4202 to the TV 4203 while performing normal voice conversation with the IP telephone 4201 to realize communication as a TV telephone. To do.

  FIG. 41 is a diagram illustrating an example of virtual device definition data in the example of FIG. The IP telephone 4201 behaves as a relay device of the present invention, and the TV telephone service can be used. The video phone exchanges MPEG2 audio and video, but the IP phone 4201 decodes the MPEG2 audio from the received data and outputs it as the output of the voice phone itself. At the same time, the data is transmitted to the other party of the TV phone call through the TV phone service. “Own” in the function description specifies that the function of the own device is used. Video input and output are the same as in the other examples, and services are used by communicating with specified devices (web camera 4204 and TV 4203) via a network.

  In the examples shown in FIG. 39 to FIG. 41, the setting to use the function of the own device is defined as “own”. There is also an example of setting “none”. Examples of scenes using this are as follows. When audio and video are received by the relay device, the audio is relayed to the IP telephone, and the video is set to “none” to terminate at the relay device, and the relay device itself does not process or output anything. In this case, a voice-only conversation is performed. Thereafter, in order to permit the relay of the video, the user who is having a voice conversation operates the IP telephone and sends a request specifying the TV as the video output destination device to the relay device. When the relay device receives this video relay permission request, the setting of the video data relay destination device is changed from “none” to the TV specified in the request, and the currently connected session is reestablished accordingly. The video data is relayed to a designated TV so that the calling user can view the transmitted video.

  Although the invention has been described and illustrated in detail, it is clear that this is by way of example only and should not be construed as limiting, the spirit and scope of the invention being limited only by the appended claims. Will be understood.

It is a schematic block diagram of the communication relay apparatus 1000 which implement | achieves this invention. It is a figure which shows the example of the data transmission / reception at the time of utilizing TV telephone service using a web camera, TV, and IP telephone, and a virtual device definition. It is a figure which shows the example of virtual device definition data. It is a figure which shows the virtual device definition data used in a communication relay part. It is a figure which shows the information data of the internal apparatus which the device information holding part used in a communication relay apparatus has. It is a figure which shows the structure of the communication relay part which performs the connection management by a message inside, and a data communication session management. It is a conceptual diagram which shows the data relay at the time of TV telephone service use by a communication relay part. It is a 1st figure which shows message transmission / reception until connection establishment when using a video telephone service. It is a 2nd figure which shows message transmission / reception until connection establishment when using a videophone service. It is a figure which shows the session information data which a session management part hold | maintains about the established TV telephone session. It is a conceptual diagram which shows the example which uses a some IP telephone as a subunit | mobile_unit of a telephone with a communication relay apparatus. It is a figure which shows the virtual device definition data for using an IP telephone as a telephone cordless handset. It is a figure which shows the other virtual apparatus definition data for using an IP telephone as a telephone cordless handset. It is a conceptual diagram which shows the structure which uses the apparatus with a data conversion function which can relay the data from which a data format and a codec differ in a communication relay apparatus. It is a figure which shows the virtual device definition data which performs a videophone with a some apparatus. It is a figure which shows the information data of the apparatus on an internal network. It is a figure which shows the session information data when a session is extended. It is a figure which shows virtual device definition data when it is necessary to integrate and isolate | separate multiple types of data. It is a conceptual diagram which shows data transmission / reception in the case of using a videophone. It is a figure which shows the session information data in communication. It is a figure which shows the example of the template data hold | maintained at the template holding part. It is a figure explaining the flow of a process until it creates a virtual apparatus from template data. It is a flowchart in the case of defining a virtual apparatus from a template using GUI. It is a figure which shows the example of GUI which defines a virtual apparatus with a flow. It is a figure which shows the table data which registers the default apparatus with respect to a function in order to define a virtual apparatus automatically. It is a figure which shows the example of GUI which registers a default apparatus into each function. It is an example of the connection which designates and listens to the content of a content server in a home network for a plurality of devices. FIG. 28 is a configuration diagram of a communication relay device 3002 that relays a home content distribution service in FIG. It is a figure which shows the message format of the relay request which the communication relay apparatus 3002 accepts. It is a figure which shows the communication connection at the time of implementing the audio communication which shares an image using the communication relay apparatus 3002. FIG. It is a figure which shows the relay request message at the time of the video sharing audio | voice communication start of FIG. It is an example of the connection for attaching and adding additional information to a video for voice communication. It is an example of the message which requests the connection of FIG. It is a figure showing the Example of the communication relay apparatus which determines the apparatus of a connection destination dynamically with respect to a request, and relays communication. This is an example of connection when adding information to a video and relaying after adding information according to a request on a relay device. It is a figure which shows the addition of the connection which adds the relay of video data newly and relays the telephone call service with respect to the already established voice call relay. 36 is an example of a relay addition request for video sharing in the example of FIG. It is a figure which shows that a service use becomes possible combining a several apparatus by setting a connection destination for every various data types, and making a connection on the basis of a video on demand service. It is a figure which shows the connection in the example which IP telephone functions as a relay apparatus and implements a TV telephone service. FIG. 40 is a sequence diagram showing a connection procedure when the example of FIG. 39 is implemented. It is an example of virtual device data defined by the IP telephone 4201 in the example of FIG.

Claims (24)

  1. A communication relay device that relays communication between devices on a network,
    Means for holding virtual device information defining a virtual device for using one communication service;
    The virtual device information includes designation of a device as a data relay destination for each type of data to be communicated,
    Means for relaying data to at least two or more devices by selecting a relay destination device for each type of data according to the relay device information in the virtual device information for communication using the virtual device;
    Holds information including a description of the type of data communication for each communication service, the virtual device definition to create a virtual device information for designating the communication relay destination device for each type of data communication the communication service using the information And a communication relay device.
  2. 2. The communication according to claim 1 , further comprising means for downloading information including a description of the type of data communicated by the communication service from outside the apparatus when the information including a description of the type of data communicated by the communication service is not retained. Relay device.
  3. A communication relay device that relays communication between devices on a network,
    Means for holding virtual device information defining a virtual device for using one communication service;
    The virtual device information includes, for each type of data to be communicated, a device that is a relay destination of at least one type of data and a designation of processing in the communication relay device of at least one type of data,
    Means for relaying a part of communication using the virtual device by selecting a relay destination device for each data type according to the relay device information in the virtual device information;
    Holds information including a description of the type of data communication for each communication service, the virtual device definition to create a virtual device information for designating the communication relay destination device for each type of data communication the communication service using the information And a communication relay device.
  4. The communication according to claim 3 , further comprising means for downloading information including a description of the type of data communicated by the communication service from outside the apparatus when information including a description of the type of data communicated by the communication service is not retained. Relay device.
  5. The communication according to any one of claims 1 , 2 , 3 , and 4 , having a function of converting data relayed at the time of data relaying into a format usable by a relay destination device and relaying the data. Relay device.
  6. 6. The communication relay apparatus according to claim 5 , further comprising a function of downloading a conversion program from the outside when a data relay destination device does not have a function of converting to a usable format.
  7. The communication relay device according to claim 1 or 3 , wherein data to be communicated is relayed according to the received request.
  8. The communication relay device according to claim 1 or 3 , wherein the communication data is classified according to whether the data to be communicated is video, audio, or a control message and using each communication direction.
  9. The communication according to claim 1 or 3 , wherein one of video codec type, parameters specified at video encoding, video display size, video resolution, number of colors, still image or moving image is used for classification of communication data. Relay device.
  10. The communication relay apparatus according to claim 1 or 3 , wherein any one of a type of a voice codec, a parameter designated at the time of voice encoding, and a number of voice channels is used for classification of communication data.
  11. An external communication interface for communicating with a first device on an external network;
    An internal communication interface for communicating with a plurality of second devices on the internal network;
    A virtual device management unit that holds and manages rewritable virtual device definition data for enabling a service on the external network using the plurality of second devices on the internal network,
    The virtual device definition data defines at least one of a plurality of functions for using the service by a part of a plurality of functions of at least one of the second devices,
    A device information holding unit for holding device information for using the plurality of second devices on the internal network by communication;
    A communication relay unit for performing mutual data exchange between the external network and the internal network;
    The communication relay unit performs mutual data exchange between the first device and the plurality of second devices included in the virtual device definition data based on the virtual device definition data and the device information;
    A template holding unit that holds a template that is data describing functions constituting the service;
    A virtual device definition unit that creates the virtual device definition data by allocating device data held by the device information holding unit to each function of the template held by the template holding unit and registers the virtual device definition unit in the virtual device management unit; A communication relay device further provided.
  12. The communication relay unit transmits and receives communication data using the external communication interface, extracts and outputs a connection request message from the received data, and
    An external communication unit that receives a transmission instruction and transmits a response message to the first device;
    The communication data is transmitted / received using the internal communication interface, the response message is extracted from the received data and output, and the connection request message is sent to the plurality of second on the internal network according to a transmission instruction. An internal communication unit that transmits to
    Receives a message from the external network via the external communication unit, and creates a plurality of requests to the second device that should receive the connection request message from the second device based on the virtual device definition data The response message is generated based on a response to the request transmitted to the internal network by giving the transmission instruction to the internal communication unit and output to the internal communication unit. A message relay unit that outputs the transmission instruction to transmit, and further extracts information relating to establishment and disconnection of a connection necessary for the use of the service;
    A session management unit for managing session information necessary for data transmission and reception for service use based on information passed from the message relay unit;
    According to the information of the session management unit, and a data relaying unit that performs data relay for transmitting data received to the external communication unit at the internal communication unit to the appropriate party, communication relay according to claim 1 1 apparatus.
  13. 13. The communication according to claim 12 , wherein the message relay unit creates and transmits the response message for the connection request message when all responses to a plurality of requests created based on the one connection request message are received. Relay device.
  14. The said message relay part produces the said response message with respect to the said connection request message based on the first response with respect to the several request produced based on the said one said connection request message, The transmission of Claim 12 Communication relay device.
  15. The virtual device definition data held by the virtual device management unit includes response creation information regarding a method of creating the response message from a response to a request to be transmitted,
    The communication relay device according to claim 15 , wherein the message relay unit creates the response message based on the response creation information.
  16. The virtual device definition data, depending on the type of direction and data transmission and reception, including information indicating whether the communication with any of the second device on the internal network, the communication relay according to claim 1 1 apparatus.
  17. The communication relay device according to claim 16 , wherein the communication relay unit includes a data conversion unit that converts received data into data that can be handled by a destination device and transmits the data.
  18. The communication relay device according to claim 16 , wherein the communication relay unit extracts a plurality of types of data included in the received data and transmits the data to a destination device of each data type specified by the virtual device definition data. .
  19. The communication relay unit integrates data received from a plurality of the second devices on the internal network to one data in accordance with the virtual device definition data, and transmits to the device on the external network, according to claim 16, wherein Communication relay device.
  20. The communication relay unit is necessary to realize any of conversion of received data into another format, separation of received data into a plurality of data, and integration of a plurality of received data into a single data Including a library holding unit for holding a library program,
    The communication relay device according to claim 17 , wherein the communication relay unit selects the required library program from the library holding unit, and transmits the selected library program using a calculation result.
  21. Using the external communication interface, further comprising a library introduction unit capable of downloading the library program from a device on the external network and adding the program to the library holding unit;
    The communication relay unit, when no library program required for the library holding unit performs acquisition request to the library introduction, the communication relay apparatus according to claim 2 0.
  22. A display unit and an input unit;
    The virtual device definition unit has a user interface using the display unit and the input unit, and presents information held by the template holding unit and the device information holding unit to the user by the user interface,
    In response to selecting a desired template from the templates presented by the user, the virtual device definition is further selected by causing the user to select a device to be used for each function of the desired template. generate data, the communication relay apparatus according to claim 1 1, wherein.
  23. The Get new template using the external communication interface further comprises a template introduction part for adding to the template holding unit, a communication relay apparatus according to claim 1 1.
  24. The device information holding unit registers the second device on the internal network as a default device for each function,
    The template holding unit notifies the virtual device definition unit when a new template is added,
    The virtual device definition section, the creation of the virtual device definition data based on the information of the default device with the device information holding unit and notified to the new template is added to register, according to claim 23, wherein Communication relay device.
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