2020 will be the year the smart home gets a lot less confusing

Google, Amazon and Apple have announced a partnership with major brands involved in smart home technology. Together the companies will work under a new working group which aims to create a new standard connectivity protocol for smart home products.
Amazon Alexa
Many smart home technologies currently don’t work together. Photo: Amazon

Google announced earlier today that it will be working with other major brands in an effort to standardize the back-end of smart home technology.

With a standardized connectivity protocol, smart home technologies from many different manufacturers will be able to work together seamlessly.

At the moment, the many different operating systems and connectivity types can make integration of smart home products an issue.

The new partnership will be managed by the Zigbee Alliance, which coordinates industry-standard connectivity protocols, allowing manufacturers to develop products which work together.

What will the new partnership mean for smart homes?

Smart home products are all over the place nowadays. You can buy everything from smart lightbulbs to in-home security cameras and even smart kettles.

But there is a bit of a problem when it comes to integrating all these products into one coherent system.

Most of them come with different operating systems and connectivity protocols, which unfortunately means they often won’t work together.

Google Nest
Products from Google, Amazon and Apple should soon be able to work together. Photo: Google

This is an issue, because you can’t really call a smart home a smart home if the various devices inside it don’t work together.

Manufacturers are aware that this is an issue for consumers, and consequently an issue for them.

With today’s announcement, which was made by Amazon, Apple and Google, it looks like this is about to change.

Now that these three giants of the tech industry have agreed to work together under the guidance of the Zigbee Alliance, consumers won’t have to worry about whether or not their products will be able to work together.

How will they achieve a unified connectivity protocol?

The push towards a unified system will be coordinated by the Zigbee Alliance, which has over a decade-and-a-half experience coordinating other cross-party platforms.

Rather than working as an independent company, businesses join the alliance and work together as a consortium. Current board members include executives from the Apple, Amazon and Google, as well as well-known names from other industries, such as Schneider Electric, Comcast, IKEA and Texas Instruments.

The group has stated that the new smart home system will be royalty-free and will have a strong focus on security. It will work using Internet Protocol and will allow seamless connection with cloud services.

sonos alexa enabled device
Whilst cross-brand integration remains a problem, there are a growing number of devices now compatible with Amazon Alexa. Photo: Sonos

In a press release about the new partnership published earlier today, Apple said:

“The industry working group will take an open-source approach for the development and implementation of a new, unified connectivity protocol.”

According to reports by Android Authority, draft specifications for the new system and an initial estimate for a final rollout will be available in late 2020.

Although consumers will have to wait a while longer for fully-connected smart home, it looks like seamless connectivity is just around the corner.

Updates on the project will be available at connectedhomeip.com.

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