Apple, Amazon, and Google form truce on voice tech

Apple, Amazon, Google, Zigbee, and Others to Develop Open Standard for Smart Home Devices

The IoT wars are over, maybe? Amazon, Apple, Google give up on smart-home domination dreams, agree to develop common standards

The companies involved will take an open-source approach, so each will bring some of their own smart home technologies to the table so that a common protocol can be developed as quickly as possible with relatively lower costs.

"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", said the new group. It's hoped the new royalty-free connectivity standard known as Connected Home over IP project (CHIPS) will increase compatibility among smart home products.

Amazon, Apple and Google (a motley crew if ever there was one) are joining forces with the Zigbee Alliance to create what they're calling "Connected Home over IP". However, with all the various smart devices, platforms, and OEMs out there, there are still a lot of issues because we don't have an industry-wide connectivity standard, leaving a lot of users confused and spending too much just to get things to work together.

The IP protocol has been chosen because it enables end-to-end private and secure communications among devices.

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With myriad devices connecting over various wireless networking connectivity protocols, it has always been a confusing exercise to properly enable interoperability.

Of course we all know the meme "we had ten competeting standards and so we created a new one to unify them all and now we have eleven competing standards". 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. Either, spend a lot of money to make sure devices are compatible with all the different smart home ecosystems which are developing, or pick a victor and risk losing out on customers who will exist elsewhere. The website also says the new standard will be "royalty-free", which is not now the case for Zigbee or Apple's HomeKit.

The project has been named Connected Home over IP, which will also be joined by the Zigbee Alliance - maker of another smart home protocol. Amazon uses Alexa, a voice assistant, that can bridge devices within the Amazon ecosystem. Google is Google means it has several overlapping and competitive smart home ecosystems at various stages of adoption. But that's once more particulars of the new standard are released.

While it might seem slightly unusual that the internet giants are attempting to collaborate without being forced to, the bigger picture makes it a bit more logical.

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