Home > Accessories > US Brands Apple, Google, Amazon Cuddle Up In Connected Home

Giant US brands Apple, Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Amazon are suddenly cuddling up to each other in a bid to establish an open standard for the Connected Home market.

As Chinese Companies look to take a key position in the new SmartHouse market big US brands minus Facebook are looking to seriously position US technology based on the Zigbee platform claiming that they want to make internet-connected homes easier to set up and safer to use.

The rivals announced Wednesday that they’re working with the Zigbee Alliance, a foundation that promotes standards for the Internet of Things, its members including Samsung Electronics, IKEA, LG, Logitech and several other brands such as Arlo and Legrand as well as Schneider.

The big question is whether these brands will share captured data with Zigbee members and whether the technology is there to prevent intrusions such as what happened last week when via an Amazon Ring camera when a hacker was able to directly access a camera in the bedroom of an 8-year-old girl.

Among the technology set to be developed by the Zigbee Alliance members are voice-activated speakers, remote apps, from thermostats to lights and even refrigerators, “the lack of an industry-wide connectivity standard leaves people confused and frustrated when trying to understand what devices work with each smart home ecosystem,” Nik Sathe and Grant Erickson, engineers at Google’s Nest unit, wrote in a statement.

“It also places a heavy burden on manufacturers to make sure all devices are compatible with each other.”

Amazon and Google have relatively open systems already, which have allowed tens of thousands of third-party devices to link up with their smart speakers. Apple only supports a few hundred via its HomeKit standard. The global smart home market is projected to grow to $174.2 billion by 2025, according to MarketWatch, up from $55.7 billion in 2016.

Apple said in a statement” 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.
They added “By building upon Internet Protocol (IP), the project aims to enable communication across smart home devices, mobile apps, and cloud services and to define a specific set of IP-based networking technologies for device certification”.

Bloomberg claim that the move could also raise privacy and security questions.

For years, Amazon and Google collected data every time someone used a smart speaker to turn on a light or lock a door and asked gadget makers like Logitech to send a stream of information whenever someone turned on a light or locked a door. Bringing more devices together in a home raises the prospect of personal data being shared with a higher number of companies, some of which may have more lax security or privacy standards. Google pared back the number of companies its Nest devices connect to earlier this year due to privacy concerns. Apple said the project is built around “a shared belief that smart home devices should be secure, reliable, and seamless to use.”

The alliance is aiming to have its new joint protocol ready by the end of 2020.

Notably absent from the group is Facebook Inc. The social network’s smart home offering, called Portal, doesn’t have a third-party ecosystem like Apple and the others. Facebook’s voice assistant is also the most rudimentary on the market.

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