Apple, Google, and Amazon are among the companies joining forces to create a new standard that could allow smart home technologies to work without a hitch on competing devices.
The companies that develop gadgets for your smart home are learning that the smartest move of all might be collaboration.
Last month, Project Connected Home over IP, a new working group launched by Amazon, Apple, Google, and the Zigbee Alliance—the latter a standards group that includes companies like IKEA and Samsung—went into operation. The new effort aims to create open standards for smart home technology, using the IP (internet protocol) addresses to manage the technology.
To put it another way, Google Assistant, Siri, and Alexa-enabled devices will soon be able to talk to one another, which could hold great benefits for consumers who might in the past have been stuck with devices that favored one device over the other.
“The goal of the Connected Home over IP project is to simplify development for manufacturers and increase compatibility for consumers,” a press release on the Apple website states. “The project is built around a shared belief that smart home devices should be secure, reliable, and seamless to use.”
Apple is taking a lead role in the initiative, and will use open-source software tools intended for its HomeKit accessory kit to make it easier for developers to take part in the endeavor.
The effort reflects a maturing of the standards model for Internet of Things-enabled devices, which have faced an array of sometimes-conflicting use cases over the years.
One competing standards body, Thread Group, cheered on what the new collaboration represented, stating that it saw room for the technologies—both the new, unnamed one being created by the working group and its own—having room to work together. In a joint blog post, Thread Group President Grant Erickson and two of the organization’s vice presidents said that it showed their approach is on the right track.
“When product manufacturers and developers use Thread and this new unified app layer protocol, they will see a marked reduction of their development and carrying costs, because they’ll only need to create a single [stock keeping unit],” the post stated. “For consumers, confusion and frustration will evaporate because, ‘things will just work.’”
According to the release, Project Connected Home over IP will encourage other manufacturers and standards bodies to take part to help contribute to the eventual standard the companies are working on.