Apple, Amazon and Google form alliance for smart home devices

Tech giants aim to create standard that ensures devices are secure and compatible

An Amazon Echo Show smart speaker and screen. Photographer: Andrew Burton/Bloomberg

An Amazon Echo Show smart speaker and screen. Photographer: Andrew Burton/Bloomberg

 

Apple, Amazon, Google and a host of other tech companies have agreed to work together on an open standard for smart home devices, an alliance designed to accelerate the development of smart consumer gadgets while ensuring they are secure and compatible with each other.

The tech giants are working with the Zigbee Alliance, an open standard foundation set up in 2002 and comprising executives from dozens of corporate giants including Samsung, Ikea, Comcast, Texas Instruments and Schneider Electric. Zigbee’s name alludes to the “waggle dance” bees perform to share information.

The groups revealed the development, called Project Connected Home over IP, in a joint press release early Wednesday in California.

“The project is built around a shared belief that smart home devices should be secure, reliable, and seamless to use,” the groups said.

A shared, open source approach should “accelerate the development” of a smart home protocol – a set of rules governing format – that will “deliver benefits to manufacturers and consumers faster,” they said.

In practice the project means smart devices enabled by Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant will be able to better communicate with Google Home devices or products powered by Apple’s Siri, the groups said.

The alliance will welcome device makers, silicon providers and other developers to contribute. – Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2019