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Amazon, Apple, Google join forces for an open smart home standard

2019-12-18 18:03 by
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Apple, Alphabet's Google and Amazon — three of the biggest smart-home and voice-assistant providers — are joining forces on developing an industry standard for smart home devices. The companies are coming together with others in the industry to create the "Connected Home over IP" project which is done in conjunction with the Zigbee Alliance, a group involved with other standards matters.

"While smart home devices are abundant, the lack of an industry-wide connectivity standard leaves people confused and frustrated when trying to understand what devices work with each smart home ecosystem," two Google Nest executives said in a blog post. "It also places a heavy burden on manufacturers to make sure all devices are compatible with each other."

According to September figures from IDC, the "worldwide market for smart home devices is expected to grow 23.5% year over year in 2019 to nearly 815 million device shipments." That figure is expected to grow to 1.39 billion devices in 2023. For that to happen, and for consumers to keep their sanity, consumers are going to need some sort of standard that gets everything talking to one another.

But the move could also raise privacy and security questions. For years, Amazon and Google collected data every time someone used a smart speaker to turn on a light or lock a door and asked gadget makers like Logitech Co. to send a stream of information whenever someone turned on a light or locked a door. Bringing more devices together in a home raises the prospect of personal data being shared with a higher number of companies, some of which may have more lax security or privacy standards. Google pared back the number of companies its Nest devices connect to earlier this year due to privacy concerns.

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