Apple, Google and Amazon team up to make homes smarter

Technology | 30 Dec 2019

Rex Crum

apple, google and Amazon recently said they will begin working together in a new partnership that is intended to make smart home technologies easier to develop and use.

The three tech giants, along with the Zigbee Alliance, a developer of smart home technology standards, announced the formation of a group called Project Connected Home over IP.

The companies said the purpose of their group will be to make it so that smart home products work together regardless of what company makes a particular device.

"The goal of the Connected Home over IP project is to simplify development for manufacturers and increase compatibility for consumers," said the group in a statement posted on Apple's newsroom site. "The project is built around a shared belief that smart home devices should be secure, reliable and seamless to use."

The move also amounts to a truce, of sorts, between Apple, Amazon and Google, as each company has made inroads into smart home technologies to various degrees of success. Amazon, with its line of Echo devices, is common in many households, while Google Home devices and Apple's HomeKit are seen as playing catch up to Amazon's dominance.

Amazon also already uses smart home tech standards developed by the Zigbee Alliance.

The company has also worked with homebuilder Lennar to create a development in Vallejo, California, with Amazon's Alexa voice-command technology built into homes.

"Zigbee is already used in all types of applications and standardizing around it will simplify customer choices when buying products that need to connect to many new products and services these three companies will bring to market in the future," said Tim Bajarin, director of tech consultancy Creative Strategies.

"This is actually a smart move by Apple, Amazon and Google," he added.

"They did not need to each reinvent their own communication protocols and cause confusion and force customers to have to buy into three different standards."

The group said that its planned connectivity standard will be able to work with existing technologies, and that device manufacturers should continue to develop products that use the technologies that are currently available.

Companies in the Zigbee Alliance that will contribute to the new standard include Ikea, Samsung SmartThings, Schneider Electric and NXP Semiconductors.

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