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Amazon, Google and Apple to push for Smart Home unity

Assistants Assemble

by Andy Bassett

The Smart Home sector has exploded recently as seemingly every piece of tech a consumer buys has some form of AI or digital assistant included, whether it is wanted or not. With a host of players all offering a different platform, three of the biggest have come together under a white flag.

It takes something quite significant to get Amazon, Apple and Google to put their heads together to come up with a unified solution to a problem, but that’s exactly what is happening in an effort to level the Smart Home playing field and get Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant all on speaking terms.

Along with other industry players, corporate behemoths Apple, Amazon and Google have launched a group under the umbrella name of ‘Project Connected Home over IP’ whose aim is to create a standard that lets all the smart platforms communicate and interact, and that is also open source and removes the requirement to pay royalties for connecting software.

This group will be overseen by the Zigbee Alliance, an open standard foundation that currently includes IKEA, Samsung SmartThings, Signify (formerly Philips Lighting) and Texas Instruments and whose membership is growing all the time.

The hope is that an overarching, unifying standard will enable easier development of products as manufacturers aren’t spending resources ensuring compatibility with all the other smart platforms on the market. It will remove confusion and uncertainty for the consumer too.

For example, the array of smart lightbulbs, security cameras, doorbells, speakers, locks and appliances that fall under the Ring, Nest or Hive brands don’t necessarily get on together. The consumer, therefore, has to commit to a smart ecosystem and stick with it, which can be frustrating if there’s a product from another range that they might be interested in.

The worldwide market for smart home devices is expected to reach nearly 815 million devices this year, up 23 percent from 2018, according to the research firm IDC, and to hit 1.39 billion by 2023. So, now the rush by the tech giants to get a piece of that cake has resulted in a certain amount of fragmentation, the companies will push for a unifying icing to give the same overall taste whilst allowing consumers to choose the different flavour of digital assistant they prefer to use with their various branded smart devices - to ram home the baking metaphor.

Google’s statement about the working group said, “Developers and consumers will benefit from this new universal smart home connectivity standard. For developers, it simplifies product development and reduces costs by giving them one standard for building their products.

You will then have the power to choose how you want to control your homes, independent of which smart home technology you choose. Smart home devices will be compatible with various platforms, so you can choose between Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri or other platforms.

This will be even more important than ever as CES 2020 is just about to get underway where hundreds, possibly thousands of smart products from a whole host of manufacturers will be paraded as the next essential item your home cannot do without. Once in your home though, is there any guarantee it will talk to and integrate with your other smart devices? That will hopefully soon no longer be a problem.

Drop a line in the discussion thread and let us know if you have issues integrating devices in your smart home environment. Does this solution sound like something you’d need?

Source: blog.google
Image Source: Mashable.com
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