Apple announced today that it is working with Amazon, Google and the Zigbee Alliance to form a working group that will establish open standards for smart home devices.
The group “plans to develop and promote the adoption of a new, royalty-free connectivity standard to increase compatibility among smart home products, with security as a fundamental design tenet. Zigbee Alliance board member companies such as IKEA, Legrand, NXP Semiconductors, Resideo, Samsung SmartThings, Schneider Electric, Signify (formerly Philips Lighting), Silicon Labs, Somfy, and Wulian are also onboard to join the working group and contribute to the project.
“The goal of the Connected Home over IP project is to simplify development for manufacturers and increase compatibility for consumers. The project is built around a shared belief that smart home devices should be secure, reliable, and seamless to use. By building upon Internet Protocol (IP), the project aims to enable communication across smart home devices, mobile apps, and cloud services and to define a specific set of IP-based networking technologies for device certification.”
The announcement comes on the heels of news the Amazon Echo has become the first non-Apple device to natively support Apple Podcasts, the latest in a series of moves indicating greater cooperation between the two companies. With tech companies—especially, Amazon and Google—under increasing scrutiny for what some perceive as anticompetitive behavior, the move toward greater compatibility is a welcome one.