Apple, Amazon, Google Partner In Zigbee Alliance On Connected Home Project

Amazon, Apple, Google, and the Zigbee Alliance on Tuesday announced an unusual partnership of several rivals: a new working group that plans to develop and promote the adoption of a royalty-free connectivity standard.

Members of the working group Project Connected Home over IP will create a new standard to make it easier to connect fragmented smart-home products. It aims to increase compatibility among smart-home products, with security as a fundamental design built into the products.

“We’re contributing two of our market-tested and open-source smart-home technologies, Weave and Thread,” Google Nest VP of Engineering Nik Sathe, and Google Next Principal Engineer Grant Erickson wrote in a blog post. “Both are built on IP and have been integrated into millions of homes around the world.”

Weave, an application protocol, works over many networks such as Thread, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Low Energy, and even cellular. Whether or not devices run on different networks, Weave allows them to securely work with each other.

What makes this project unique is that the independent working group will be managed by the Zigbee Alliance, separate from the existing Zigbee 3.0/Pro protocol.

Other members of the Zigbee Alliance, which electronics companies formed in the early 2000, plan to join the working group and contribute to the project. Some of those companies include board members from IKEA, Legrand, NXP Semiconductors, Resideo, Samsung SmartThings, Schneider Electric, Signify, Silicon Labs, Somfy, and Wulian.

Companies and device users have struggled with compatibility issues for years. The project will create a new standard that will make it easier for smart-home products from different companies to work together as the worldwide market for home devices grows. Some believe connectivity will help to increase use of these products.

IDC estimates the market will reach 1.39 billion device shipments by 2023, up from 815 million this year.

IDC estimates the United States will represent the majority of units shipped in each year and will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 9.5% during the forecast period, reaching more than 560 million units shipped in 2023.

China will become the second-largest country for shipments each year but represents the highest growth rate at a CAGR of 22.6% between 2019 and 2023. Canada follows with a CAGR of 19.9% and Western Europe with a CAGR of 14.7%.

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