Google, Apple, Amazon and others are writing royalty-free smart home connectivity standards

December 30th
The Google Assistant smartphone app and a Google Home speaker. (AndroidCentral)

Google, Apple, Amazon and others have agreed to develop an industry standard for smart home connectivity.

From the group's 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.

Today, many smart home devices are built on proprietary protocols that tether to consumers' wifi networks. The new method, according to the group's site, will be built on internet protocol (IP), the standard way networks identify and interact with computers and smart phones.

In addition to the large tech companies listed above, other signatories include members of the Zigbee Alliance, which describes itself as "the foundation and future of the Internet of Things."

Zigbee members include IKEA, Samsung SmartThings, Legrand, Signify (formerly Philips Lighting), and others.

The move represents the maturation of the smart home industry, members of the working group said.

When writing about the above news, technology writer and consultant Benedict Evans resurfaced a post he wrote in early 2019 about consumers' relationships with smart home devices. In it, he claims that smart home devices are transitioning from novelty items into commodity products, and consumers are deciding which products will be successful and which won't, and where.

"Everyone in Britain has a kettle, most people in America have a blender, and no-one has an electric can opener. The same is happening with ‘smart home’ now," Evans wrote.

Also from his post:

We have an ever-growing set of components in things like computer vision, speech and NLP, as well as broader and less visible kinds of ML-based pattern recognition. Again, many of these components are now commodities, or are quickly becoming commodities. And, again, we are working out how to combine them, build them into products, add them to other products, and surface that to the user.