- Amazon, Apple and Google came together in a rare collaboration to make smart-home gadgets easier for people to use. The tech giants partnered with the Zigbee Alliance, a standards group for Internet of Things (IoT) technology, to develop a better way for connected devices to talk to each other reliably and securely, per an announcement.
- Their "Connected Home over IP" project aims to create a technical standard that electronics makers can use to make their gadgets compatible with smart-home and voice services such as Amazon's Alexa, Apple's Siri and Google's Assistant, among others. The project will build on internet technology so that smart-home devices can connect with mobile apps and cloud services.
- Ikea, Legrand, NXP Semiconductors, Resideo, Samsung SmartThings, Schneider Electric, Signify (formerly Philips Lighting), Silicon Labs, Somfy and Wulian are participating in the project.
Amazon, Apple and Google's collaboration with the Zigbee Alliance indicates that the tech companies are willing to overcome their rivalries for the sake of expanding the market for smart-home devices and services. The global market for smart-home products is forecast to grow to 1.39 billion device shipments a year by 2023 from 815 million this year, per estimates from International Data Corp.
Consumer adoption likely will accelerate if people have greater peace of mind that when they buy a smart-home product, it will work with other devices, including smartphones and voice assistants. Currently, consumers must check whether a device will work with separate technologies, such as Google Home, Apple HomeKit or Amazon Echo, another step that may dissuade them from committing to a specific platform.
The Connected Home over IP standard could almost become like a "Good Housekeeping" seal to reassure customers that products not only work seamlessly, but also are safe from malicious hackers. Such concerns have become more prominent amid reports of hackers who gained access to Ring security cameras and taunted people in their homes.