Apple, Google and Amazon team up for universal smart home standard

Apple, Google and Amazon partner up for universal smart home standard
(Image credit: Google)

Choosing a TV or voice-controlled speaker according to your smart home ecosystem might soon be a thing of the past now that Google, Apple and Amazon have joined forces to create a universal smart tech standard.

The three tech giants, which are among the biggest names in the smart home world with their own personal voice assistants, are working to co-create the Connected Home over IP standard, an open smart home connectivity platform based on Internet Protocol. The idea is to help manufacturers create smart home devices, voice assistants and smartphones that are not specific to just one ecosystem but will instead work across the Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri and Google Assistant platforms.

Theoretically, this should pave the way for more flexibility when it comes to consumers buying and adding to one’s AV and hi-fi equipment. It could also lead to both better functionality and even slightly cheaper prices too.

As it stands, licensing and implementing these different smart home technologies is costly for connected devices manufacturers. They have a decision to make over whether to adopt one over the others or face the expense and R&D difficulties of making their products compatible with the lot.

Of course, it’s very early days and this is just the initial announcement (made by Google). It will be some time before we see these universal smart devices coming to market, presuming that these three huge companies can hold it together for that long without coming to blows.

Fortunately, the well-established Zigbee Alliance will be managing the group, and Google has already offered up its Thread and Weave networking and application protocol technologies for use. With any luck we'll see the first fruits of this labour arriving within the next three years.

Dan Sung

Dan is a staff writer at What Hi-Fi? and his job is with product reviews as well as news, feature and advice articles too. He works across both the hi-fi and AV parts of the site and magazine and has a particular interest in home cinema. Dan joined What Hi-Fi? in 2019 and has worked in tech journalism for over a decade, writing for Tech Digest, Pocket-lint, MSN Tech and Wareable as well as freelancing for T3, Metro and the Independent. Dan has a keen interest in playing and watching football. He has also written about it for the Observer and FourFourTwo and ghost authored John Toshack's autobiography, Toshack's Way.