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Apple, Amazon, Google team up on smart home standard

Amazon, Apple, Google, and the Zigbee Alliance have joined together to work on Project Connected Home over IP, or CHIP. The new, royalty-free connectivity standard aims to increase compatibility among smart home products, with a focus on security.

According to the CHIP website, the goal of the project is to simplify development for manufacturers and increase compatibility for consumers.

“[CHIP] is built around a shared belief that smart home devices should be secure, reliable, and seamless to use. 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.

“The project aims to make it easier for device manufacturers to build devices that are compatible with smart home and voice services such as Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, Google’s Assistant, and others. The planned protocol will complement existing technologies, and Working Group members encourage device manufacturers to continue innovating using technologies available today.”

Zigbee Alliance board member companies include IKEA, Legrand, NXP Semiconductors, Resideo, Samsung SmartThings, Schneider Electric, Signify (formerly Philips Lighting), Silicon Labs, Somfy, and Wulian.

As the project website points out, there is no widely adopted open standard for smart homes that is built upon IP, and yet IP is the protocol of the internet and is the most common network layer used in homes and offices.

“Many Smart Home devices use proprietary protocols today, requiring them to be tethered to a home network using dedicated proxies and translators,” says the CHIP website. “By building upon IP, some of these devices may instead be able to connect directly with standardized networking equipment.”

The working group is aiming to release a draft specification and a preliminary reference open source implementation in late 2020.

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