Amazon, Apple, Google, and the Zigbee Alliance to Develop a New, Open Standard for Smart Home Device Connectivity

Three tech giants

In a coming together once thought of as improbable, Amazon, Apple, Google, and Zigbee Alliance have agreed to develop a new open standard that will allow the interoperability of smart home devices. It’s hoped the new royalty-free connectivity standard known as Connected Home over IP project (CHIPS) will increase compatibility among smart home products.

Security will form a significant part of the standardization process. In addition to the tech companies Zigbee Alliance board member companies such as IKEA, Legrand, NXP 

Semiconductors, Resideo, Samsung SmartThings, Schneider Electric, Signify (formerly Philips Lighting), Silicon Labs, Somfy, and Wulian are also contributing to the project. The companies say the project is built around a shared belief that smart home devices should be secure, reliable, and seamless to use. They want to make it easier to work with Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, Google’s Assistant, and others.

The project is meant to guarantee that any supported smart home device you buy will work in your home, regardless of which smartphone or voice assistant you’re using. If the group succeeds, “customers can be confident that their device of choice will work in their home and that they will be able to set up and control it with their preferred system,” the companies write. Google adds that you’ll be able to “choose between Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri or other platforms.”

Three together

The three tech giants have support from the smart home industry at large. They’re forming a group called Project Connected Home over IP, which will also be joined by the Zigbee Alliance — the maker of another smart home protocol — and its many board members, including Ikea, Samsung SmartThings, and the Signify, the company behind Philips Hue.

Technology from each of the three companies’ smart home systems — Apple’s HomeKit, Amazon’s Alexa, and Google’s Weave — will be contributed to the new standard. They intend to release an initial draft in “late 2020.” Google says that, for developers, the system will simplify product development and reduce costs “by giving them one standard for building their products.”

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