Tech Giants and Zigbee Alliance to Develop New Smart Home Standard

by Patrice Samuels | Dec. 18, 2019

Amazon, Apple, Google, and Zigbee Alliance have announced plans to develop and promote a new open-source connectivity standard for smart home devices called Project Connected Home over IP. The standard is being developed in an effort to increase compatibility among smart home devices and to make it easier for device manufacturers to develop these products. The working group that will contribute to this project include Zigbee Alliance board members, as well as representatives from IKEA, Legrand, NXP Semiconductors, Resideo, Samsung SmartThings, Schneider Electric, Signify (formerly Philips Lighting), Silicon Labs, Somfy, and Wulian.

Device interoperability is still largely a challenge for the smart home industry as device manufacturers leverage a range of disparate technologies and wireless networking protocols into their products. All efforts to achieve seamless interoperability, whether through the development of a shared open standard for communication, API integrations, or application layer integration have been emerging slowly.

Parks Associates research indicates that more than one-half (56%) of US broadband households that intend to purchase a smart home device report that the device’s ability to work with many different types of smart products is a very important purchase consideration. Technical support providers like Support.com and Level Up Your Home report that when purchasing smart home devices, one of the leading concerns consumers have is whether or not the device will work with other technology in their home.

The smart home industry is consistently making efforts to minimize consumers concerns about purchasing smart home devices (including interoperability concerns) and accelerate market growth. In recent years, cooperative industry efforts dedicated to fostering interoperability have focused largely on the application layer of the software stack. Z-Wave and Zigbee have provided publicly available tools for developers to create application layer interoperability through Public Z-Wave and Dotdot over Thread. Platform players such as Apple HomeKit and SmartThings, as well as voice control platforms such as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, offer interoperable ecosystems through API integrations at the cloud level and have made significant progress with device integration.

Having the major tech giants onboard with this project gives it market credibility, as well as ample resources to accelerate its development. This also give the working group the ability to leverage market-tested technologies from these major players to further accelerate the development. Having an open-sourced connectivity standard for smart home devices will ultimately improve interoperability in the smart home industry and drive market adoption.

Join the Parks Associates Team for CONNECTIONS Summit at CES, where industry experts will discuss, the state of the smart home and trends driving its development.

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