Seattle and Cupertino, Mountain View and Davis, California - Amazon, Apple, Google, and the Zigbee Alliance today announced a new working group that plans to develop and promote the adoption of a new, royalty-free connectivity standard to increase compatibility among smart home products, with security as a fundamental design tenet.
According to data released by IDC in September this year, the number of global smart home devices will reach almost 815 million units this year, an increase of 23.5% year-on-year. 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.
There are tons of canned quotes from execs out out there today, so will provide just one, from president of the Thread Group, Grant Erickson: "The fact that the challenge of IoT market fragmentation has brought the likes of Amazon, Apple, Google, and others to collaborate on the solution speaks to the gravitas of the problem to-date". This will let consumers know whether it is built and supported by the "Project Connected Home over IP'".
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The same headaches also extend to companies that make smart devices. "You will then have the power to choose how you want to control your homes, independent of which smart home technology you choose". They need to decide from the beginning whether their products support the Zigbee standard, or the Apple or Google standard.
Due to lack of an industry-wide connectivity standard, most of the smart home devices you buy will not be compatible with each other. In the future, a logo will be printed on the box of smart home products.
If you're a fan of smart home products and can't wait to live in a futuristic utopia where everything in your house is 'alive, ' Amazon, Apple, and Google may have some good news for you. The standard will allow devices to send messages to each other with "end-to-end security and privacy". To that end, the companies will also be working with the Zigbee Alliance and its constituent members: IKEA, Legrand, NXP Semiconductors, Resideo, Samsung SmartThings, Schneider Electric, Signify (formerly Philips Lighting), Silicon Labs, Somfy, and Wulian.