Amazon, Apple, Google, and Zigbee Alliance collaborate to develop open smart home standard

by: - Last updated on: December 19th, 2019

With this decade coming to an end, we saw a wide range of IoT and smart home products from different brands all through the decade. While these brands offer solutions for almost every need with their smart products lineup (like sensors, switches, thermostats, camera, and more), they do, however, rely on different standards. As a result, there is no middle ground for these companies to offer home solutions that work seamlessly across different major voice assistant services. For this, Amazon, Apple, Google, Zigbee Alliance, are collaborating for the first time to come with an open standard to increase compatibility across different companies and their devices.

Project Connected Home over IP

Some of the major players in the smart home space, up until now, have been offering their best solutions for a variety of different user needs and requirements. However, they relied on their own standards for communication, which, in turn, left some of the smaller players in the industry to choose sides. Not to mention, the other caveat/shortcoming with this approach, which prevents smart home devices of different brands from communicating together in a smart home ecosystem.

The new open standard, Connected Home over IP, is a royalty-free connectivity standard that relies on Internet Protocol (IP), which Google has been using on its Nest thermostat since 2011. Using IP ensures an end-to-end, private, and secure communication between different smart devices, mobile phones, and related cloud services. Not to mention, a defined specific set of networking technologies (based on IP) for device certification. With the new open standard protocol, the group welcomes device manufacturers and developers in the smart home industry to participate and contribute to the royalty-free standard. On the other hand, the end-user gets the freedom to decide how they want to control their smart devices, irrespective of the smart home technology that they use.

Google is contributing to this collaboration with two of its smart home technologies, Weave and Thread, both of which are built on IP. Besides Amazon, Apple, and Google, the inclusion of the Zigbee Alliance — a foundation with a wide range of Global members from major companies that collaborate to create open standards for products to work in unison — opens the possibilities further by having a variety of products and services to test out the standard and its compatibility. With industry-leading smart home technologies from the likes of Amazon, Apple, Google, Zigbee Alliance, and more, to work with, allows for a smooth development process of the protocol, and also ensures larger benefits for the end consumers. The outcome, with a large set of devices, smart home technologies, and voice assistants (like Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri, Google Assistant) to test out the protocol, is a solution in the form of an open, royalty-free standard that ensures convenience to the device manufacturers to build devices that are compatible with various platforms.

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