Tech giants eye common level for smart home devices

Will Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri and Google Assistant finally get along?
The major digital assistants could operate on a common technology standard under a plan announced on Wednesday by Amazon, Apple and Google and other industry partners that aims to enable more smart home devices to speak to each other.
The goal of the plan would be to allow developers to build new products without paying royalties for connectivity software, and enabling consumers to then choose their preferred voice assistants on the devices.
The project “aims to improve the consumer experience of trying to use smart home products that aren’t compatible with each other,” according to a statement by the new working group.
“We believe that the protocol has the potential to be widely adopted across home systems and assistants such as Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Apple’s Siri, Google Assistant, and others.”
The new project also includes the Zigbee Alliance, a separate effort to develop a common wireless standard for connected devices that includes manufacturers such as Samsung, retailers such as Ikea and other tech firms, including Texas Instruments and NXP Semiconductors.
“The industry working group will take an open-source approach for the development and implementation of a new, unified connectivity protocol,” the statement said.
“The project intends to use contributions from market-tested smart home technologies from Amazon, Apple, Google, Zigbee Alliance, and others.”
The worldwide market for smart home devices is expected to reach nearly 815 million devices this year, up 23 per cent from 2018, according to the research firm IDC, and 1.39 billion by 2023.
The initiative called “Project Connected Home over IP” could promote more smart home products, making it easier for developers of products ranging from smart refrigerators to voice-activated lightbulbs, who are now forced to choose among various standards.