Smart home devices have been around for many years, but have never become very widespread to a large degree. One of the reasons for this is likely the incompatibility between different wireless interconnection standards and technologies, limiting widespread adoption. Things are set to change, as several leading high-tech companies from the US have agreed to develop a royalty-free connectivity standard for smart home devices. The new technology will put an end to the standards war in the smart home space, and will make devices more attractive eventually.

Nowadays, smart home hardware uses various communication protocols, including Wi-Fi, Zigbee, and Z-Wave. The devices are also controlled using different apps and voice services. Usage of incompatible technologies greatly slows down their adoption by end users as well as the development of infrastructure. This week Amazon, Apple, Google, IKEA, Legrand, NXP Semiconductors, Resideo, Samsung SmartThings, Schneider Electric, Signify (formerly Philips Lighting), Silicon Labs, Somfy, and Wulian joined forces to form the Connected Home over IP framework.

The new standard is designed to facilitate communication between smart home devices, apps, cloud services, and to outline a set of IP-based networking protocols for hardware certification. Ultimately, this will simplify development of smart home devices for manufacturers, and improve compatibility for consumers.

The Connected Home over IP project will have multiple layers. On the hardware side of things, the companies will work on a unified open-source interconnection protocol using contributions from market-tested technologies. This protocol is not supposed to eliminate the existing ones, but complement them, which will allow owners of existing devices to add new hardware to their homes without problems.

On the software and services side of matters, the companies will work to ensure that all devices are supported by cloud and voice services, including Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, Google’s Assistant, and others. Essentially, this may mean that smart home devices will have to support the same control protocol (which will be complementing existing protocols).

The Connected Home over IP project is in an early stage of development, and it remains to be seen when the first devices supporting the new standard will be emerging in the market. 

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Source: Press Release

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  • torndar - Wednesday, December 18, 2019 - link
  • ikjadoon - Wednesday, December 18, 2019 - link

    This XKCD joke (you know which one it is without even opening it) only works when *one* corporation pushes a "universal" standard onto other corporations. This standard is specifically spearheaded by every major player in this arena: it's exactly XKCD comic could only dream of happening with other protocols.

    Unreated: the comic "A/C charger standards", which thankfully are becoming outdated: more & more devices have adopted USB PD. Obviously, there's a long tail of holdouts, but we're closer today to universal A/C charging than this industry ever come close to in the past 30 years.
  • ikjadoon - Wednesday, December 18, 2019 - link


  • TheinsanegamerN - Thursday, December 19, 2019 - link

    Someone's salty they didnt get the XKCD post first. If you honestly think this new standard will become the defacto and not just yet another option, I've got a bridge you'd be interested in. We have great credit deals right now!

    Not to mention that Type C, despite making power input universal, has made a right mess of data connections. Whether a device supports video out, thunderbolt, or the right voltages for the charger you are using are entirely left up to random chance. At least in the days of MHL, it was easy to tell if a device supported external connections. Now some do, some dont, some use their own that isnt quite compatible (hello samsung dex).

    The XKCD is quite relevant today.
  • mooninite - Wednesday, December 18, 2019 - link

    Oh... you mean Z-Wave?

  • webdoctors - Thursday, December 19, 2019 - link

    As long as they don't mess with z-wave I'm a happy camper. I'm invested too far into z-wave devices to change now.
  • PeachNCream - Wednesday, December 18, 2019 - link

    After working for the last decade in IT security, I would NEVER put any of these things in my home for any reason. You're inviting data mining and very invasive levels of getting to know everything about you which you can never be sure is actually deleted forever at your request (assuming such a system exists to make that sort of request). Do you really think that this information will be securely stored and there will never be an insider at Google that exfiltrates it or that there won't be a successful intrusion? Even if Google or Amazon doesn't massively abuse that degree of access into your daily life, you're putting a lot of trust into the security barriers placed around that collected data all so you don't have to get off your ass to adjust the thermostat or flip a light switch. It seems like a lot of cost for very little benefit.
  • DanNeely - Wednesday, December 18, 2019 - link

    As always remember the 'S' in IoT stands for security.
  • Hul8 - Friday, December 20, 2019 - link

    Also, in "Internet of Things", the "s" for security comes last.
  • reuthermonkey1 - Wednesday, December 18, 2019 - link


    Which flip phone do you use day-to-day then? I've got one of those invasive data-mining "smartphones" in my pocket all the time, and that thing isn't even plugged in or hooked up to wifi. Thing is probably pushing data over the cellular network while i'm out and about!

    I get your point, but smartphones all have voice assistants, microphones, and can transmit data out at any time too. The data from the smart speaker isn't nearly as useful to 3rd parties (malicious or not) without that smartphone on your hip.

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