Amazon, Google and Apple on Wednesday struck a rare partnership to create new standards for smart homes that will make them easier for consumers to use. At present, Amazon, Google and Apple are actively competing for smart home users, but the competition itself has created confusion and trouble for consumers and manufacturers of smart home products, because consumers have to buy products compatible with their smart home systems.
Idc released data in September showing that the number of smart home devices worldwide will reach nearly 815 million this year, up 23.5 percent year-on-year, and that number will rise to 1.39 billion units by 2023. To achieve this market size, in order to keep consumers sane, we need some standard that connects all smart products.
That’s why the three big rivals, Apple, Google and Amazon, are joining together. Today, you may need to buy a smart lock, but first make sure it’s compatible with the Amazon Echo (using the Zigbee standard) or with Google Home or Apple HomeKit.
The same headache extends to companies that make smart devices. They need to decide from the start whether their products support the Zigbee standard or the Apple or Google standards. Once a decision is made, they need to be updated throughout the life cycle of the device to ensure that it is secure on all platforms. This time, Apple, Google and Amazon are preparing to jointly create new standards to address these problems.
The partnership, known as the “Project Connected Home over IP”, aims to create a new standard for smart homes that people can know when they buy products that are compatible with smart systems at home and that they are safe. In the future, a Logo will be printed on the box for smart home products to let consumers know if it is being built and supported by an “IP-based connected home project”.
“The project builds on the shared belief that smart home devices should be safe, reliable and seamless,” the three companies said in a press release. The project is based on Internet Protocol (IP) and aims to enable communication between smart home devices, mobile applications and cloud services, and to define a specific set of IP-based network technologies for device authentication. “
In addition to Apple, Google and Amazon, ZigBee Alliance will join the partnership, which includes Samsung SmartThings, Schneider Electric, Signify (Philips Lighting), Ikea, NXP Semiconductors and Resideo.
The alliance will initially focus on physically secure smart home devices such as smoke alarms and carbon dioxide sensors, smart door locks, safety systems, electric plugs, curtains and HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) controls before expanding to other types of equipment and commercial solutions.
The alliance plans to release a draft specification and preliminary open source data later next year, and it is unclear when the first products will be available.