Apple joins rivals to create open standard for smart home devices

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Abode Iota is a security system by itself
Building your smart home is about to get a whole lot easier.
Photo: Abode

Apple is teaming up with Amazon, Google, and the Zigbee Alliance to create a new open and royalty-free standard for smart home devices.

Project “Connected Home over IP” aims to increase compatibility among smart home gadgets and make development easier for device manufacturers. It should also simplify smart technology for consumers.

There are some terrific smart home devices on the market today, but mixing and matching them isn’t easy. They’re not all compatible with the same platforms and hubs, which can make things incredibly confusing.

Apple and a bunch of other companies — which are usually rivals in the smart home and consumer technology industries — are now teaming up to change all that with Connected Home over IP.

Apple reveals mission for new smart home standard

Amazon, Apple, Google, and the Zigbee Alliance — which includes board member companies like IKEA, Samsung, and Signify — today revealed a new working group that will develop and promote a new smart home standard.

Connected Home over IP will be open and completely royalty-free, and it will make security a fundamental design tenet.

“The goal of the Connected Home over IP project is to simplify development for manufacturers and increase compatibility for consumers,” Apple explains. “The project is built around a shared belief that smart home devices should be secure, reliable, and seamless to use.”

Building upon Internet Protocol (IP) will enable communication across all smart home devices, mobile apps, and cloud services. That means you’ll no longer have to worry whether certain devices play nicely together.

It’s about time

Because Connected Home over IP will take an open-source approach, different companies can all help develop it. The project intends to use those already built by Amazon, Apple, Google, the Zigbee Alliance, and others.

“The decision to leverage these technologies is expected to accelerate the development of the protocol, and deliver benefits to manufacturers and consumers faster,” Apple adds.

This doesn’t mean that platforms like Alexa, Siri, and the Google Assistant will be replaced by something else. It will instead complement those technologies, and encourage their creators to keep pushing them forward.

But it shouldn’t matter which smart home platform you’ve chosen to adopt; any and all smart home devices (in the future, at least) should work together seamlessly.

Join the fight for a better smart home standard

Apple and its partners are inviting device manufacturers, silicon providers, and other developers from across the smart home industry to join the Connected Home over IP effort and contribute to the standard.

You can visit the new website to learn more, and to sign up for updates on its progress.