Big Boost For IoT With Connected Home
Written by Harry Fairhead   
Thursday, 19 December 2019

Amazon, Apple, Google, and the Zigbee Alliance are joining forces in an initiative to make an IP-based connectivity standard for domestic IoT. It means we can look forward to devices that are compatible with the range of smart home and voice services.

 

Perhaps the main barrier to the adoption and growth of the domestic IoT - a scenario in which we can expect devices from light bulbs and radios, through microwaves and washing machines  to central heating and garage doors is that of the lack of a standard. This means that device manufacturers have products that can only be used with some controllers and not with others.

This could be about to change for the better thanks to Project Connected Home over IP,  an unexpected and very welcome development. It is supported by the major players in domestic IoT - Amazon, Apple, Google, and the Zigbee Alliance, which encompasses Samsung SmartThings, Signify (formerly Philips Lighting), IKEA, NXP Semiconductors, Silicon Labs and others.

According the the Apple press release

The goal of the Connected Home over IP project is to simplify development for manufacturers and increase compatibility for consumers. The project is built around a shared belief that smart home devices should be secure, reliable, and seamless to use. By building upon Internet Protocol (IP), the project aims to enable communication across smart home devices, mobile apps, and cloud services and to define a specific set of IP-based networking technologies for device certification.

So far it has been Amazon, and to a lesser extent Google, that has dominated in the smart speaker market but this has tended to sideline Apple and led to gaps in the range of capabilities that Smart Home IoT requires. Hopefully this initiative will allow more players to contribute. 

voiceass

According to its website the Project intends to leverage development work and protocols from existing systems such as: 

  1. Amazon’s Alexa Smart Home 

  2. Apple’s HomeKit 

  3. Google’s Weave 

  4. Zigbee Alliance’s Dotdot data models

and it is inviting device manufacturers, silicon providers, and other developers across the smart home industry to participate in and contribute to the development of the new standard also specifying: 

The goal of the first specification release will be Wi-Fi, up to and including 802.11ax (aka Wi-Fi 6), that is 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax; Thread over 802.15.4-2006 at 2.4 GHz; and IP implementations for Bluetooth Low Energy, versions 4.1, 4.2, and 5.0 for the network and physical wireless protocols. 

It also refers to the project as being open source, stating:

The reference implementation of the new standard, and its supporting tooling, will be developed and maintained on the GitHub open source platform for all aspects of the specification.

Of course we all know the meme "we had ten competeting standards and so we created a new one to unify them all and now we have eleven competing standards". However, in this case it might just work as there are advantages to all the players to support a single standard and make it work.

More Information

Project Connected Home over IP

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The State Of Voice As UI

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Last Updated ( Thursday, 19 December 2019 )