Smart home connectivity standards to converge

A working group that plans to develop a new, royalty-free connectivity standard to increase compatibility among smart home products has been set up by Amazon, Apple, Google and the Zigbee Alliance. The aim is to simplify development for manufacturers and improve compatibility for consumers.>

Zigbee Alliance member companies on board include IKEA, Legrand, NXP Semiconductors, Samsung SmartThings, Schneider Electric, Signify, and Silicon Labs. (Amazon, Apple and Google are themselves members.)

The project aims to make it easier for device manufacturers to build devices that are compatible with smart home and voice services such as Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, Google’s Assistant, and others. The planned protocol will complement existing technologies, and working group members encourage device manufacturers to continue innovating using technologies available today.                   

The Connected Home over IP project is built around the common principle 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.

The industry working group will take an open-source approach for the development and implementation of a new, unified connectivity protocol. The project intends to use contributions from market-tested smart home technologies from Amazon, Apple, Google, Zigbee Alliance, and others.

The Project will define a specific set of IP-based networking technologies for device certification. The goal of the first specification release will be Wi-Fi, up to and including 802.11ax (aka Wi-Fi 6); 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. 

Some companies might focus their product offerings on the protocol over Wi-Fi/Ethernet, while others might target the protocol over Thread or BLE, and still others might support a combination. Looking forward, the Project Connected Home over IP Working Group will probably embrace other IP-bearing technologies like Ethernet, Cellular, Broadband, and others.

Project Connected Home over IP is still inviting device manufacturers, silicon providers, and other developers from across the smart home industry to participate in and contribute to the standard.

More information here.