Google has announced Project Connected Home over IP, in partnership with Apple, Amazon, and the Zigbee Alliance, with the aim to establish a new standard to enable IP-based cross-platform communication across smart home devices.
The open-source project will among other things guarantee that all smart home devices will work, irrespective of voice assistant that is used, which makes it possible to choose between any of the popular digital assistants, including Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple Siri for your smart home device.
While Google, Amazon, Apple, and the Zigbee Alliance joined as the Working Group, with Zigbee Alliance board comprising IKEA, Legrand, Resideo, NXP Semiconductors, Samsung SmartThings, Signify (formerly Philips Lighting), Schneider Electric, Silicon Labs, Wulian and Somfy, which are also among the Working Group who contribute to the project.
How the Connected Home over IP will Work?
Connected Home over IP Project is aimed to increase compatibility by simplifying development for manufacturers, which is around the shared belief that smart home devices must work seamlessly, be secure, and reliable. And by building upon the Internet Protocol (IP), the project will also enable communication across smart home devices, cloud services, and mobile apps, while defining specific set of IP-based networking technologies for the device certification.
The open-source approach will be taken for the development and implementation, for a unified connectivity protocol, with contributions from already market-leading smart home technologies from Google, Amazon, Apple, Zigbee Alliance, among others. These technologies is decided upon as it will help to accelerate the development, and deliver more benefits faster to manufacturers and consumers.
And the protocol will complement other existing technologies, and the Working Group will encourage device manufacturers to continue the innovation using technologies available.
Why Internet Protocol (IP)?
There is currently no widely adopted open standard for the smart home built upon Internet Protocol (IP), even though IP is the protocol of the internet and the most common network layer used in the home and offices. So, IP messages is easily routed across networks quite independent of physical and link layers; while there are ample tested algorithms and infrastructure available for performing the routing and switching, with robust and resilient firewall.
IP is a well-known protocol just like TCP and UDP, which consequently, makes it ideal for delivering end-to-end security and privacy in the communication between one device and the other, including apps, and services.
And there is a number of IP-bearing networks available, which are designed for different use cases. Given that the protocol is built on IP, the message traffic would be able to seamlessly flow across the different types of networks. Today, Smart Home devices that are in use require proprietary protocols to be tethered to a home network using both dedicated proxies and translators.
The Connected Home over IP Project Working Group may likely embrace other IP-bearing technologies like Cellular, Ethernet, Broadband, and many others. Albeit, the initial draft is expected to arrive in 2020.