Google, Amazon and Apple have created Connected Home, an “independent working group managed by the Zigbee Alliance”. Their goal is to create a new connectivity standard based on IP, or Internet Protocol, which enables end-to-end encryption and improved cybersecurity for mobile applications, cloud servers and IoT devices. Nik Sathe, Google Nest’s Vice President of Engineering, along with Grant Erickson, the company’s Principal Engineer, wrote about the smart home technology alliance in a blog post from Google,
“Developers and consumers will benefit from this new universal smart home connectivity standard. For developers, it simplifies product development and reduces costs by giving them one standard for building their products. You will then have the power to choose how you want to control your homes, independent of which smart home technology you choose.”
Google is contributing their Weave and Thread open-sources technologies, both built on IP. Weave works over networks like cellular, Bluetooth Low Energy, Wi-Fi or Thread, allowing devices on different networks to work with each other securely.
Apple Invests in Smart Home Technology
In August 2018, Apple joined the Thread Group, Google’s organization that “[standardizes] low power mesh networking solutions” for connected devices. This technology is used in systems with Bluetooth, ZigBee or Z-wave technologies. Along with Apple, companies like TDK and Ubilogix are also part of the Threat Group.
Last October, Apple searched for new employees to work on smart home devices. Although they were the first company to create a voice assistant with Siri, Alexa has rapidly rose to the top in terms of both the number of skills as well as the number of compatible smart home devices. Apple’s new smart home team will focus on creating:
- Smart light bulbs
- Garage door sensors
- Self-driving car
- Augmented reality headset.
Although Siri is currently the third most popular voice assistant next to Alexa and Google Assistant, their increased spending on smart home technology may improve their chances of increasing market share.
What is Zigbee?
ZigBee is an open source protocol and available to use for free. Some companies that use Z-Wave technology hedge their bets and also manufacture smart home appliances using ZigBee.
What is Z-Wave?
Z-Wave is proprietary technology that requires a license for companies to incorporate in their products. Z-Wave has been in use for years and has gained wide-spread corporate acceptance.
What is the Internet of Things?
The Internet of Things, commonly known as IoT, is any object that connects to the Internet such as smart light bulbs, locks or security cameras. These items can be controlled remotely through a mobile application.