Zigbee Alliance Adds Amazon to Board of Directors Roster
For an otherwise rather innocuous headline, the fact that Amazon has joined the Zigbee Alliance Board of Directors is really a huge piece of news for the IoT industry.
As we know, Zigbee is one of the two major protocols that all IoT-connected devices can operate on. The technology itself is simply a lower-power type of wireless technology that allows smart home devices to communicate with one another. Most notable about a protocol like Zigbee is its ability to work efficiently for those low-power devices and to travel longer distances than other standards like Bluetooth or WiFi. Simply put, it’s ideal for things like light switches, smart plugs, and the like.
A little over a year ago, Amazon rolled it’s Amazon Echo Plus, which was a remade version of the original Echo speaker that also included a built in hub. That hub was crafted around the Zigbee protocol, which meant the device could directly connect to and act as the conductor for other products that use the protocol. And digging even further, smart doorbell maker and home alarm system Ring, which Amazon purchased last year, is also built around the Zigbee protocol.
Needless to say, the ecommerce giant has been gradually working its way into the good graces of the Zigbee Alliance—the membership organization that helps to craft the standards and overall direction for the technology. And that ultimately lead to their invite onto the organization’s board of directors.
“As an industry, we need to move quickly to help consumers add new devices effortlessly, and ensure they are getting a great experience in the Internet of Things,” said Tobin Richardson, President and CEO, Zigbee Alliance. “We’re proud to be attracting the best tech companies on the planet, and Amazon joins an impressive lineup of other industry leaders and innovators on the Board who work with the Zigbee Alliance’s open standards and community to deliver real value in the IoT.”
That roster of leaders includes names like Comcast, Huawei, Samsung SmartThings, Legrand, Texas Instruments, and more. The same, for sure, could be said about each of those companies and the rest, but the desire from Amazon to join a prominent group like this makes too much sense for a number of reasons. Most assuredly, they wanted to make sure that they had a seat at the table when it comes to crafting the future direction for technology in the smart home. While things like convenience for the customer and ease of setup provide a great public message for them to disseminate, the truth of the matter is that they (and ever other member company) want to make sure their voice is heard and that their influence on the space is felt.
And, knowing how heavily Amazon has invested in this space with their own products and services, this kind of move was really just the next logical step for them to take.