Are you conflicted between Alexa, Siri, and your Google Assistant? Good news! You won’t have to choose one over the others anytime soon. Amazon, Apple and Google Assistant have all agreed to share one tech frontier: your home. The three tech giants announced that they will all start abiding by technology standards that would allow their devices to speak to one another. The project, facilitated by the Zigbee Alliance, is called Connected Home over IP (or CHIP) is meant to “simplify development for device manufacturers and increase compatibility for consumers” according to the official Zigbee Alliance statement. Soon, the consumer can trust that any smart home gadget they buy will be able to talk to all the other smart devices in your home.
This standardization will be achieved through IP (Internet Protocol). In its official statement, Apple writes “By building upon IP, the project aims to enable communication across smart home devices, mobile apps, and cloud services to define a specific set of IP-based networking technologies for device certification.” To put it simply all your devices should use the internet to connect to one another, rather than going through a hub. Thanks to IP utilization, the new devices you buy will potentially be compatible with the ones you currently own.
What is the Zigbee Alliance?
Although it sounds like a plot point from a Pixar film, the Zigbee Alliance is devoted to developing “open, global standards for wireless device-to-device communication for the IoT (Internet of Things).” The alliance was founded in 2002 and is made up of companies like Texas Instruments, Ikea, and Comcast, among others.
Why CHIP? Why Now?
The aim of CHIP is to make the technology you buy fit seamlessly together. All three companies have been trying to structure the smart home technological ecosystem around their products, but all three failed to gain dominance. This project is an admission of failure on this score for the three companies, while also signaling that the fluid smart home will be a reality.
When will CHIP begin?
The project was just announced last December, so we still have a little time. The initial implementation of the project is estimated to take place in late 2020. In the meantime, you’ll still have to be cognizant that you are purchasing smart home devices that are compatible with one another.
While a Jetsons-like smart home is an exciting idea, a major concern for consumers is security. Smoke alarms, intruder sensors, and security cameras are all examples of devices that will be affected by this new project. Manufacturers must be vigilant that the compatibility between their devices does not make it easier for hackers to breach consumers’ homes.
For now, enjoy your chosen smart device. Ask your Alexa/Google Assistant/Siri to play the latest Lizzo single and dance in your kitchen, full in the knowledge that a smarter home is on the horizon.