Anyone interested in purchasing a new TV in part to use as a smart home hub might be interested to learn that Amazon, Apple, Google and the Zigbee Alliance are teaming up in a historically unlikely way to develop a new open standard assuring interoperability between smart home devices.

Members of the “working group” of companies announced their plans for a cooperative standard, known as the Connected Home over IP project (CHIPS), Thursday. The stated mission is to increase compatibility and ease of use between smart home products from different brands and manufacturers. The companies say the project is built around a shared belief that smart home devices should be secure, reliable, and seamless to use together.

According to a statement from the group posted on the Apple web site and elsewhere, security will be a central part in developing the standardization platform and products from a wide swath of smart home development platforms and AI voice control systems including Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, Google’s Assistant and others. All are intended to work together in a seamless way through the finished standard.

In addition to the major companies mentioned at the top of the effort, the Zigbee Alliance spans a wide group of powerful and innovative smart home systems manufacturers and retail members including: Comcast, IKEA, Kroger Co., Legrand, Lutron, NXP Semiconductors, Resideo, Samsung SmartThings, Schneider Electric, Signify (formerly Philips Lighting), Silicon Labs, Somfy, Texas Instruments, Wulian and others, many of which are also contributing to the development project, the group said.

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According to the CHIPS mission statement: “By building upon Internet Protocol (IP), the project aims to enable communication across smart home devices, mobile apps, and cloud services and to define a specific set of IP-based networking technologies for device certification.”

The industry working group will take an open-source approach for the development and implementation of the resulting unified connectivity protocol, and “the decision to leverage these technologies is expected to accelerate the development of the protocol, and deliver benefits to manufacturers and consumers faster.”

“The planned protocol will complement existing technologies, and working group members encourage device manufacturers to continue innovating using technologies available today,” the statement reads.

CHIPS said it is welcoming device manufacturers, silicon providers, and other developers from across the smart home industry to participate in and contribute to the standard.

By Greg Tarr

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