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This time of year really brings out the best in all of us, even those of us that often compete against each other. This week, Apple, Google, and Amazon announced that they’d all be working together on a new smart home standard that will increase compatibility across their products. The group also called in the big leagues and got the Zigbee Alliance and their entire list of board member companies on board as well.

Apple, Google, and Amazon have decided to call the project “Connected Home over IP” or more simply, CHIP. The Project will leverage Apple’s HomeKit, Amazon’s Alexa, Google’s Weave, and Zigbee Alliance’s Dotdot data models. Any open source code the Working Group chooses to incorporate will be copied into the Connected Home over IP open source project and will be modified as needed. This will make things significantly easier and cheaper on the developer’s end since they won’t have to start from scratch.

As the name suggests, CHIP will be based around IP, or Internet protocol. Right now, we’re using a laundry list of different radios like WiFi, Bluetooth, Z-Wave, and the list goes on. And though this new standard doesn’t mean our smart devices will connect directly to the internet, it will simplify the process of sending messages across smart home devices, mobile apps, and cloud services. But make no mistake, the standard won’t be replacing things like WiFi and Bluetooth, it’ll actually be working alongside them to create the system. The Connected Home Over IP Wesbite also said the project will embrace other IP-bearing technologies like Ethernet, Cellular, and Broadband.

The end goal then is for all of our smart home devices to work together, and to allow users to choose their preferred system, whether that be Google Assistant, Alexa, Siri, or others. Exactly how a device connects though will be entirely up to the manufacturer.

We should expect to see a draft and preliminary open source materials from the group towards the end of 2020. According to CNBC, their first order of business will be to integrate this new standard into safety smart home devices like smoke alarms, CO sensors, smart doors and locks, security systems, electrical plugs, window shades, and HVAC controls.

However it all plays out, the fact that all three-tech giants have put aside their differences for the common good of the consumer is commendable.

Happy Holidays everyone and thank you so much for you continued support this year. We’ll see you in 2020.

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