The modern “smart home” is a relatively new concept and we’re still trying to figure out how it works best. One of the things that complicated the current landscape is the various standards and systems built by technology companies. Will a smart home device work with Google Assistant or Alexa? Will my TV be able to communicate with my smart speaker? There are so many concerns about compatibility, so some of the biggest players in the industry, namely Google, Apple, and Amazon, are teaming up to address it.
Google, Apple, Amazon, and others have joined forces to create the “Project Connected Home Over IP” group. The group is managed by the Zigbee Alliance, which is probably a name you’ve heard of before if you’re into smart home gadgets. The goal is to develop a new, open-source smart home connectivity standard based on the Internet Protocol. This will hopefully simplify the process of setting up smart home products for consumers and reduce the costs and development time for developers of said products.
This new standard will work alongside existing protocols such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. There are no concrete plans yet, but the group does say devices will most likely have to support Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Low Energy, or Thread to work with the system. Also, the standard will be based around IP, but of course, not all devices will need to connect to the Internet. The standard will allow devices to send messages to each other with “end-to-end security and privacy.”
Beyond the big names of Google, Apple, Amazon, and Zigbee, brands such as IKEA, Samsung (SmartThings), and Signify (Philips Lighting) are also part of the group. The goal of the group is great for consumers and developers, but we have no idea what the end product will look like. The group will start with a focus on safety devices such as smoke alarms and door locks. The initial “draft” of the standard is set to be released in late 2020.
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