Smart home devices have been around for many years, but have never become very widespread to a large degree. One of the reasons for this is likely the incompatibility between different wireless interconnection standards and technologies, limiting widespread adoption. Things are set to change, as several leading high-tech companies from the US have agreed to develop a royalty-free connectivity standard for smart home devices. The new technology will put an end to the standards war in the smart home space, and will make devices more attractive eventually.

Nowadays, smart home hardware uses various communication protocols, including Wi-Fi, Zigbee, and Z-Wave. The devices are also controlled using different apps and voice services. Usage of incompatible technologies greatly slows down their adoption by end users as well as the development of infrastructure. This week Amazon, Apple, Google, IKEA, Legrand, NXP Semiconductors, Resideo, Samsung SmartThings, Schneider Electric, Signify (formerly Philips Lighting), Silicon Labs, Somfy, and Wulian joined forces to form the Connected Home over IP framework.

The new standard is designed to facilitate communication between smart home devices, apps, cloud services, and to outline a set of IP-based networking protocols for hardware certification. Ultimately, this will simplify development of smart home devices for manufacturers, and improve compatibility for consumers.

The Connected Home over IP project will have multiple layers. On the hardware side of things, the companies will work on a unified open-source interconnection protocol using contributions from market-tested technologies. This protocol is not supposed to eliminate the existing ones, but complement them, which will allow owners of existing devices to add new hardware to their homes without problems.

On the software and services side of matters, the companies will work to ensure that all devices are supported by cloud and voice services, including Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, Google’s Assistant, and others. Essentially, this may mean that smart home devices will have to support the same control protocol (which will be complementing existing protocols).

The Connected Home over IP project is in an early stage of development, and it remains to be seen when the first devices supporting the new standard will be emerging in the market. 

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Source: Press Release

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  • rrinker - Wednesday, December 18, 2019 - link

    Please, PLEASE, whatever you do, make this standard so there is only a single internet gateway. One point of ingress/egress to defend. There is ZERO (hell negative) reason why every freakin' light bulb needs a direct internet connection. There is zero reason every thermostat needs a direct internet connection. Have them all talk locally to a gateway device if there is a need for control via internet, or sending status information. Every 'thing' does not need direct internet.
  • chaos215bar2 - Wednesday, December 18, 2019 - link

    Sadly, this sounds like the exact *opposite* of what they're trying to do with an IP-based standard (which, if you read their website, seems to be primarily targeting WiFi as the physical link).

    Whatever happened to standardized, open, interoperable ZigBee devices? (I mean, Z-Wave is decent if you want a mesh protocol with no possibility of a direct internet connection, but there's a lot that ZigBee does better, at least in theory.)
  • LumenCache - Thursday, December 19, 2019 - link

    Totally agree. That's our goal. Limit the attack points to a device that can contain solid threat protection both from external and internal sources.
  • drexnx - Wednesday, December 18, 2019 - link

    All these home automation things are an answer in search of a question to me. Until it automatically folds my laundry or puts dishes away, what time am I really saving?

    do I really need to be able to adjust my thermostat remotely? what am I gaining with that? With a programmed schedule it already pre-heats my house before I get home from work.

    remote light switches? is getting up and walking 10 feet to the switch really that hard?

    I mean, I like cool new hobbyist tech (this is Anandtech, after all) but I just don't see the "there" there yet on smart homes.
  • HardwareDufus - Wednesday, December 18, 2019 - link

    in the home, i don't think there has been a real time saving device invented since the microwave. (maybe some would say the DVR was a good breakthrough, as it lets you watch programming on your own schedule)

    just don't think anything has had the impact of the water pump, gas range, washer, dryer, dishwasher, plug in iron, vacuum cleaner, microwave, and sewing machine... we've developed sufficient tools to help us with the truly labor intensive stuff (starting a fire in a woodstove to heat up your clothe iron for example).

    so much of IoT/home automation are solutions looking for problems.

    with everything else, the configuration, the maintenance, the security implications... all for little gain.
  • nandnandnand - Wednesday, December 18, 2019 - link

    "in the home, i don't think there has been a real time saving device invented since the microwave."

    There is at least one in the kitchen: the electric/programmable pressure cooker ("Instant Pot" and many other brands). That thing can turn dry beans into a meal quickly without hours of presoaking, cook a lot of dishes in half the time, turn some dishes into "set it and forget it" even if they take a little longer (e.g. pasta), make a gallon of yogurt, etc.

    But your point stands. I think Amazon has managed to put the largely useless Alexa into more devices (tablets, Echo, Echo Show, Echo Loop, Fire TV remote, the AmazonBasics microwave) than there are types of "useful" home automation IoT devices (smart thermostats, light bulbs w/ color changing or Bluetooth speakers, security cameras...???).

    Bipedal home robots that can interact with a human designed environment (e.g. walking instead of Roomba-ing) and cook, clean, etc. would be a real advance. It would be like having a live-in maid, except accessible to the middle class and eventually poor people. The trick is making sure it doesn't crush pets and babies or systematically ruin your stuff.
  • HardwareDufus - Thursday, December 19, 2019 - link

    Cooking for ourselves and cleaning our homes should be something we want to do for ourselves. Why do we think so many other activities are so important that we can manage these tasks (I say simple pleasures) for ourselves. Why are we wanting to out source this to tech?

    I don't want to live in a world where no one is cooking and cleaning for themselves. The simple pride of putting things in order and making my surroundings sanitary... why would I want to deny myself that? Cooking... choosing the best fruits, vegetables, and meats.... carefully cleaning them, slicing them, pealing them, seasoning them to taste, etc.... It's so fundamental to being human, why turn that over to a robot. Aren't prepared foods and microwaves enough abdication for us?
  • nandnandnand - Thursday, December 19, 2019 - link

    I like cooking, but there are people who are decades older than me who are not so great at it. They voted with their time and simply do not care about that "simple pleasure" in the same way we do. So there is likely to be a market for such robots.

    It can also be a huge time sink. It could require upwards of 2 hours of my time to cook certain meals. Maybe I don't care to do so some days. I don't see the abdication in receiving restaurant quality meals with no effort spent. In fact, this could be a good way to remove relatively unhealthy processed + fast foods from your diet. You can get great quality meals 5-6 days a week, and cook for yourself 1-2 days a week. Or 1 meal a day, etc. You can program your robot to use less salt, gluten, etc. than restaurants would use, while saving money.

    Maybe you can even use this in the post-apocalypse! Solar power for your energy needs, robots free up time for you to go hunt some deer or something. And they can butcher them for you and check for parasites. Or you can spend most of your time growing vegetables, mushrooms, etc. and have a robot process/can or cook them for you. The usefulness of robots has no bounds.

    Cleaning? That's an even more dubious pleasure. I'm certainly not cleaning the house every day, which is something a robot would "happily" do. Yes, there are some truly disgusting layers of dust in some parts of my home.

    I am ready to see some abdication. Robots in the household will save me time and money.
  • khanikun - Thursday, December 19, 2019 - link

    Your argument can be used for essentially everything and which point, you yourself couldn't follow along with it. Do you do your own car maintenance/repair work? Build your own computers? Fix the electrical wiring? Fix your plumbing? Of course you don't, at some point, you are going to pay someone to do it. You're going to do it cause you don't have the time, don't have the knowledge, don't have the skills, etc. Why there are available options out there for people to choose.

    A robot would be just another option. It existing, doesn't stop you from doing whatever it is you want to do. Really, the only downside I'd see to all of it, it'd probably start killing the restaurant/fast food market, if a robot could go do your grocery shopping and then prepare your meals. Hell, have it deliver your meal to you at work.
  • rrinker - Saturday, December 21, 2019 - link

    Very true, so much of this is of absolutely no use. Oh great, I can install a smart thermostat that will kill the AC in the summer and start it up just before I get home so I save energy yet still come home to a cool house? Oh, and dead dogs, my dogs are not very heat tolerant so I can;t just let the house get to 100 degrees on a hot sunny day because I'm not home. Plus the really basic programmable ones I already have could do that if I wanted.
    One thing I did do with some of the HA gear I already have (I was using this stuff back when X10 was the big thing - where it made sense) was to set up a too hot and too cold alert so I get an alert on my phone if the indoor temperature gets too hot or too cold, so I will know about a heating or AC issue before it becomes an issue. Given that if I am working in the office I am only about 5 minutes from home, I can quickly run home to check. So far it hasn't been necessary, the only alerts I get are when the batteries run down on the sensors.

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