Apple part of 'Project Connected Home over IP' group to simplify home automation connectiv...

Posted:
in iPhone edited February 2020
Amazon, Apple, Google, and the Zigbee Alliance are forming a new working group that plans to develop a new smart home networking standard.




Apple says that Project Connected Home over IP is "built around a shared belief that smart home devices should be secure, reliable, and seamless to use." The project's stated goals are 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 a new, unified connectivity protocol. The member companies expect that the joint approach to developing the technology will accelerate the development of the protocol, and deliver benefits to manufacturers and consumers faster.

It does not appear that the protocol will supplant HomeKit, or other vendors' proprietary solutions. Apple says that "the planned protocol will complement existing technologies, and working group members encourage device manufacturers to continue innovating using technologies available today."

Zigbee Alliance board member companies such as IKEA, Legrand, NXP Semiconductors, Resideo, Samsung SmartThings, Schneider Electric, Signify (formerly Philips Lighting), Silicon Labs, Somfy, and Wulian are in the partnership, and will all contribute to the project.

The goal of the first specification release will be Wi-Fi, up to and including 802.11ax (aka Wi-Fi 6), that is 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax; Thread over 802.15.4-2006 at 2.4 GHz; and IP implementations for Bluetooth Low Energy, versions 4.1, 4.2, and 5.0 for the network and physical wireless protocols. Future development is expected in regard to Ethernet and cellular technologies.

The group says that there is no specific focus intended for any company, and members may implement the technologies as they like. The Project Connected Home over IP groups as a whole says that some companies might focus their product offerings on the protocol over Wi-Fi/Ethernet, while others might target the protocol over Thread or BLE, and still others might support a combination.
The Project aims to improve the consumer experience of trying to use smart home products that aren't compatible with each other. We believe that the protocol has the potential to be widely adopted across home systems and assistants such as Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Apple's Siri, and others.

If the Working Group succeeds with this goal, customers can be confident that their device of choice will work in their home and that they will be able to set up and control it with their preferred system.
The Project intends to start with components of market-tested technologies, modified as needed. The Working Group has a goal to release a draft specification and a preliminary reference open source implementation in late 2020.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 14
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,166member
    Huh...
    Apple opting into an open-source home connectivity standard rather than insisting on HomeKit only? 
  • Reply 2 of 14
    auxioauxio Posts: 2,328member
    gatorguy said:
    Huh...
    Apple opting into an open-source home connectivity standard rather than insisting on HomeKit only? 
    This is more about an open standard than open source.  They're not giving away the HomeKit source code, just the communication protocol design (with a reference implementation).  Apple was iterating on HomeKit quickly and so it didn't make sense to bog the development down in design-by-committee before.  Now that it's mature, they can make it part of an open standard so that it's easier for 3rd party products to be compatible with Apple (no need to go through an Apple-specific certification process).
    edited December 2019 watto_cobrachasm
  • Reply 3 of 14
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 5,901member
    A wise move. In an IoT world, 'things' should see each other and 'talk' to each other without the user needing to fiddle with things, making compromises or being 'forced' to choose one 'garden' over another.

    This project is long overdue from large industry players but earlier efforts have failed. Namely those covering digital video/audio. DLNA is a mess and HANA was basically stillborn:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-Definition_Audio-Video_Network_Alliance

    Open Standards and convergence are a must.

    QoS remains a must and so is physical connector and hard wire transfer

    HANA chose Firewire for its initial plans.

    5G/WiFi 6 and hardware should provide a good foundation for development.
  • Reply 4 of 14
    What I would love for Apple to explain is why my T2 Chip equipped Macintosh cannot be the hub for HomeKit. 

    Some of us prefer desktops over mobile and configuring and maintaining a smart home would be much easier and better.
    mld53arazorpitbloodshotrollin'red
  • Reply 5 of 14
    gatorguy said:
    Huh...
    Apple opting into an open-source home connectivity standard rather than insisting on HomeKit only? 
    FTA - “It does not appear that the protocol will supplant HomeKit, or other vendors' proprietary solutions. Apple says that ‘the planned protocol will complement existing technologies,’”

    Much like how AirPods utilize BT but enchanted it with their own value-add, I expect to see similar here. 
    edited December 2019 lolliverwatto_cobrachasm
  • Reply 6 of 14
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,341member
    Y’al should have done this from the beginning.   When will you learn that you’re not the solution for everything. 

    Anxiously awaiting the design goals.  We know it’s going to be IP based and focus Security.  Other than no licensing 
    fees how is this new protocol going to improve over existing platforms like Thread? 


  • Reply 7 of 14
    dewmedewme Posts: 3,812member
    Notably absent from this is Z-Wave, which leads me to believe that this will end up being one of many “open standards” that product vendors have to choose from. Sorry to sound pessimistic about this, but after 25 years of working very deeply on a number of open networking and device management standards I’ve never seen a single case of one open standard that eclipsed all underlying contenders. More typically you get clusters of vendors and organizations aligned around the “open standard” that works in the best interests of their individual organization and partners, in addition to individual vendors hanging on to their proprietary way of doing things. 

    But I still believe that open standards are a good thing and companies that hang on to proprietary mechanisms end up losing in the end. When you adopt an open standard it frees you to invest in higher  value-added products and technologies rather than fighting battles that have little incremental value. Most everything that leans towards being a standard ends up having low market differentiation, less opportunity for lock-in,  and thus has low incremental value. Competing against standards can be a fools game. 
    mld53awatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 14
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,166member
    gatorguy said:
    Huh...
    Apple opting into an open-source home connectivity standard rather than insisting on HomeKit only? 
    FTA - “It does not appear that the protocol will supplant HomeKit, or other vendors' proprietary solutions. Apple says that ‘the planned protocol will complement existing technologies,’”

    Much like how AirPods utilize BT but enchanted it with their own value-add, I expect to see similar here. 
    We're saying pretty much the same thing. No longer "ONLY HomeKit"...
  • Reply 9 of 14
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,166member
    dewme said:
    Notably absent from this is Z-Wave, which leads me to believe that this will end up being one of many “open standards” that product vendors have to choose from. Sorry to sound pessimistic about this, but after 25 years of working very deeply on a number of open networking and device management standards I’ve never seen a single case of one open standard that eclipsed all underlying contenders. More typically you get clusters of vendors and organizations aligned around the “open standard” that works in the best interests of their individual organization and partners, in addition to individual vendors hanging on to their proprietary way of doing things. 

    But I still believe that open standards are a good thing and companies that hang on to proprietary mechanisms end up losing in the end. When you adopt an open standard it frees you to invest in higher  value-added products and technologies rather than fighting battles that have little incremental value. Most everything that leans towards being a standard ends up having low market differentiation, less opportunity for lock-in,  and thus has low incremental value. Competing against standards can be a fools game. 
    Z-Wave is in the group too. 

    "Zigbee Alliance board member companies such as IKEA, Legrand, NXP Semiconductors, Resideo, Samsung SmartThings, Schneider Electric, Signify (formerly Philips Lighting), Silicon Labs (Z-Wave), Somfy, and Wulian are also onboard to join the working group and contribute to the project"

    "The industry working group will take an open-source approach for the development and implementation of a new, unified connectivity protocol"

    edited December 2019 mld53a
  • Reply 10 of 14
    gatorguy said:
    gatorguy said:
    Huh...
    Apple opting into an open-source home connectivity standard rather than insisting on HomeKit only? 
    FTA - “It does not appear that the protocol will supplant HomeKit, or other vendors' proprietary solutions. Apple says that ‘the planned protocol will complement existing technologies,’”

    Much like how AirPods utilize BT but enchanted it with their own value-add, I expect to see similar here. 
    We're saying pretty much the same thing. No longer "ONLY HomeKit"...
    That has yet to be seen. I can readily see the ecosystem still requiring HK-certified, but communication will be handled by the new protocol. 
    lolliver
  • Reply 11 of 14
    spice-boyspice-boy Posts: 1,439member
    Do some of you use Home Kit? It seems to be mostly thermostats, lightbulbs and security cameras, am I missing something?
    bloodshotrollin'red
  • Reply 12 of 14
    Hey, this can be really great. If we can get more/all smart home manufacturers on board, as well as keeping the end use companies (Apple, Google, Amazon, etc) on board, you SHOULD be able to buy any smart home device and use it with any other device (iPhone, Android, Alexa, etc). I'm still waiting to get smart home devices until the day I can drive up to my house, my garage door opens automatically, my front door lets me in, and the lights in the entrance way turn on, and I don't have to do a thing. And the house is already warm because my thermostat saw I was down the street and started warming the house up for me. When it's time to watch TV, "Siri, turn on the Warriors game" and the TV and surround sound system kick on, change the channel, turn the lights down, and send the home phone calls to VM, all automatically.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 14
    dewmedewme Posts: 3,812member
    gatorguy said:
    dewme said:
    Notably absent from this is Z-Wave, which leads me to believe that this will end up being one of many “open standards” that product vendors have to choose from. Sorry to sound pessimistic about this, but after 25 years of working very deeply on a number of open networking and device management standards I’ve never seen a single case of one open standard that eclipsed all underlying contenders. More typically you get clusters of vendors and organizations aligned around the “open standard” that works in the best interests of their individual organization and partners, in addition to individual vendors hanging on to their proprietary way of doing things. 

    But I still believe that open standards are a good thing and companies that hang on to proprietary mechanisms end up losing in the end. When you adopt an open standard it frees you to invest in higher  value-added products and technologies rather than fighting battles that have little incremental value. Most everything that leans towards being a standard ends up having low market differentiation, less opportunity for lock-in,  and thus has low incremental value. Competing against standards can be a fools game. 
    Z-Wave is in the group too. 

    "Zigbee Alliance board member companies such as IKEA, Legrand, NXP Semiconductors, Resideo, Samsung SmartThings, Schneider Electric, Signify (formerly Philips Lighting), Silicon Labs (Z-Wave), Somfy, and Wulian are also onboard to join the working group and contribute to the project"

    "The industry working group will take an open-source approach for the development and implementation of a new, unified connectivity protocol"

    Thanks for catching this! 

    I will monitor this effort with great fascination because it's not clear to me without digging deeper where the integration points will be if all the underlying protocols like HomeKit will remain in the mix and not be superseded. It's one thing to talk about implementing a layer of gateways to bridge between all the different combinations of communication models and protocols. However, things get much more complex when you start to look across different object models, information models, services/commands, events, alarms, device profiles, data access patterns (event/state driven, polled, isochronous, etc.), device management (config, provisioning, etc.), security, and of course, how metadata regarding all of the aforementioned things gets introduced into the system operational model.

    There's a lot of dots that will need to be connected. If nothing else, if everyone can agree on a common security model the mashup will probably be worth the effort.

    I'm very interested to see how the open source aspect of this plays out. If indeed it delivers a fully implemented stack and toolkits in addition to simply a specification it will be interesting to see if any major player actually uses the open source collateral or develops their own "optimized" version. Of far greater importance in my mind will be to see how the governing body that takes over from the working group enforces compliance, compatibility, and interoperability across all product vendors who will market products that supposedly comply with the standard.  Customers who buy products that are somehow identified as being compatible with the standard will expect all of them to work seamlessly together. Some sort of governing body (as opposed to an open source community) will have to ensure that this happens in order to make the standard meaningful.
  • Reply 14 of 14
    olsols Posts: 48member
    Perhaps having a Nest thermostat with HomeKit support may come soon - perhaps
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