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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  • PeachNCream - Wednesday, December 18, 2019 - link

    That's a fallacy. Just because you have a smartphone means you give up on every other aspect of protecting yourself? Seems a bit defeatist. You CAN kill most of the vendor crapware and Google garbage including voice assistant stuff by dumping apps kicking on developer mode and firing up adb. It's a PIA and requires a little research, but it is possible. Also there is AOSP and various 3rd party ROMs that don't contain gapps if you're willing to go that route too (assuming the bootloader on your phone is unlocked AND you're willing to trust the person or group that baked the custom ROM in the first place). Not that I would go that route because, like you suggested, grabbing a cheap burner flip phone is still possible and the prepaid carriers out there are a lot cheaper on a per month basis than picking up the latest overpriced Google spy platform from a major cellular provider like Verizon.
  • Reflex - Wednesday, December 18, 2019 - link

    Your smartphone is infinitely easier to hack, much more powerful, and is built by default to enable all the data mining suggested. While yes, IoT devices can be problematic and there are certain categories I would avoid, I can't take anyone seriously who discusses this topic without addressing smartphones first and foremost.

    And yes you can reduce the concerns in that space, but even in the best case scenario you are still worse off than the major brand IoT devices, especially on Android, and a typical user simply isn't skilled enough to do the things you suggest, and it would degrade the experience to a point where its not worth it to them.

    Then there is the fact that smarthomes themselves are a major advance for significant portions of the population, especially seniors and the disabled. Plus people weigh risk factors differently, a Ring camera could be a privacy violation, but it could also be a way of identifying the person who broke into your home. Depending on your priorities, people are capable of making such decisions in the best way that works for them.
  • ingwe - Thursday, December 19, 2019 - link

    While I agree with your concerns, I think a smartphone is basically an essential part of living modern life. The expectation (in the US at least) is that "everyone" has one. So it is a necessary evil. For IoT devices, they can make some aspects of life easier but to me they feel unnecessary and so it feels like little is gained for the security risks they come with.

    A way it could perhaps be said is that smartphones are high risk but high reward whereas IoT might be medium risk with low reward.
  • TheinsanegamerN - Thursday, December 19, 2019 - link

    And you can lock down your home network to prevent info from leaking like a sieve, and take advantage of home-brewed 3rd party options for connectivity.

    What's your point?
  • chaos215bar2 - Wednesday, December 18, 2019 - link

    Why are you running invasive, data-mining apps on your smartphone?

    Literally every feature you listed is optional, and spying on users without permission via, for instance, the microphone (as you strongly imply is a real concern) is *very* illegal in most places. It's disingenuous to draw an equivalency between smartphone use in general, where the OSs themselves are actually pretty well secured and offer a variety of privacy controls, and the vast majority of IoT devices, where security is, for the most part, an afterthought at best (and intentionally compromised at worst).

    There are obviously exceptions, but it's exceptionally hard right now for a non-technical consumer to judge which devices are actually well secured or to take measures to protect themselves from devices which may not be well secured, but on their own don't offer a concerning opportunity for data collection. (For instance, I have a special IoT network in which devices are explicitly blocked from communicating with anything other than the internet — even other devices on the same network. Security cameras go on another network in which they can only communicate with the *local* NVR.)
  • Reflex - Wednesday, December 18, 2019 - link

    Android does all those things by default.
  • PeachNCream - Saturday, December 21, 2019 - link

    "Why are you running invasive, data-mining apps on your smartphone?"

    If you have an Android phone, you get all that for free and consent to it (knowingly or not) during the initial setup is it is not illegal at all in most places because Google/Alphabet has you by the short hairs from the start.
  • yetanotherhuman - Monday, December 23, 2019 - link

    Funny thing is, I have friends that still use old flip phones, and not ironically or as a joke.
  • pattymcfly - Wednesday, December 18, 2019 - link

    Check out

    No internet / cloud connection required to and it works with a ton of existing smarthome protocols and platofrms like zigbee, z-wave, insteon, hue, homekit, nest.... goes on and on

    You can run on your own commodity hardware on linux, in a docker container, or in their own managed OS image that runs on rasbery pi.
  • nathanddrews - Wednesday, December 18, 2019 - link

    HA is great - but many of the hooks that allow it to work "with everything" is opt-in from big players. Recently Google took away API support for their Nest devices in HA, for example.

    It's a common game and it goes like this: "Hey buy our new thing! Look how open it is! Oh cool, look at how the community really cares and has developed all these neat custom ways of using our device.. yeah, cool... Oh by the way, now that we're really popular we're going to cut off any sort of support. Thanks for the memories, suckers!"

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