(Image courtesy of Dan Seifert / The Verge)
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Apple, Amazon and Google develop standard for smart home technology

Last year, Apple, Amazon and Google announced that they will be working together to create a universal smart home standard for all of their products.

According to an Apple press release on Dec. 18, the three companies have partnered with Zigbee Alliance, an organization where companies can collaborate with to create universal open standards for technological products.

The companies plan to develop and promote a new connectivity standard to increase compatibility among smart home products, with the intent to increase user security.

Apple, Amazon and Google have created a working group known as Project Connect Home Over IP, according to Business Insider.

The group hopes to find a standard in which devices such as Amazon Alexa, Google Home and Siri are able to connect directly with standardized networking equipment.

The purpose of the project is to create a single standard for all smart home appliances in order to simplify development for manufacturers as well as increase compatibility for consumers by allowing their multiple internet-connected smart home devices to communicate and operate with each other according to Apple’s website.

Multiple Zigbee Alliance board member companies such as IKEA, Samsung SmartThings, Schneider Electric and Signify have also agreed to contribute to the project.

In recent years, the increase in smart home appliances has more than quadrupled.

In 2015, only 6 million U.S. households had smart home devices, according to Forrester Research. That number grew to 25 million in 2018.

In coming together, Project Connect Home Over IP hopes to allow “customers [to be] confident that their device of choice will work in their home and they will be able to set up and control it with their preferred system,” according to the group’s website, http://www.connectedhomeip.com.

The project is built around a shared belief that smart home devices should be secure, reliable, and seamless to use.

“Today there is no widely adopted open standard for [smart home devices],” the group explained. “Many smart home devices use proprietary protocols today, requiring them to be tethered to a home network using dedicated proxies and translators.”

Project Connect Home Over IP leaves other companies and manufacturers to make a decision.

CNBC stated, “[Smaller companies] need to decide from the outset if they want to support various connectivity methods used by Amazon, Apple or Google and, if they do, they need to continue updating the device throughout its life so it’s secure across all platforms.”

The group stated that the first implementations of their standards are expected to be announced later this year.