Apple, Google, and Amazon Partner on New Smart Home Standard
Just in time for the holiday season, Apple, Google, and Amazon have decided to play nice. Along with the Zigbee Alliance, the trio announced their plan for a new connectivity protocol that will essentially make things easier for everyone involved.
Users will be able to choose from Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri, or other platforms on any supported smart home device regardless of their smartphone or voice assistant. For developers, that means a simpler development process that will reduce costs since they’ll only have one standard for building their products.
“The project is built around a shared belief that smart home devices should be secure, reliable, and seamless to use,” the companies write. “By building upon Internet Protocol (IP), the project aims to enable communication across smart home devices, mobile apps, and cloud services and to define a specific set of IP-based networking technologies for device certification.”
Zigbee Alliance board member companies such as IKEA, Legrand, NXP Semiconductors, Resideo, Samsung SmartThings, Schneider Electric, Signify (formerly Philips Lighting), Silicon Labs, Somfy, and Wulian are fully supportive of the new standard. The Connected Home over IP project (as it’s been coined) will use contributions from the three companies’ smart home systems: Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, and Google Weave. Leveraging all three technologies will accelerate the development process significantly.
We should expect to see a draft and preliminary open source materials from the group towards the end of 2020. Once the project is officially in place, supported products will display a logo on their packaging to signify their compatibility with Project Connected Home over IP or not. The first products on the group’s list are physical safety smart home devices like smoke alarms, CO sensors, smart doors and locks, security systems, electrical plugs, window shades, and HVAC controls.
As 2020 progresses, we can only hope to gain more information on what exactly this new protocol will be capable of doing. There’s also the question of backwards compatibility with smart home products that many people have already invested in. But no matter what, this new standard will make things much less confusing for the consumer and ultimately lead to greater adoption of smart home devices.