The ZigBee Alliance organizes a number of the world’s largest gadget manufacturers and their smart home initiatives. Among these are Apple and Google, and in a new project that will deliver drafts already on this side of the New Year, they have relatively fresh promises:
– To deliver on our promise to bring together a fragmented industry under a single connectivity standard that can help companies focus on experiences instead of focusing on the communications between the devices.
Because promises are not always so easy to translate from English to Norwegian, we have written the quote a bit about. It is Techradar that discusses the new plan for a total smart home.
The original went as follows:
– Pull off our promise to unify a fragmented industry under a single connectivity standard that would help companies focus on creating experiences over «plumbing»
Easier to set up, easier to choose equipment
In these promises lies the fact that the gadget manufacturers will not have to reinvent the powder every time, and can rather gather under an umbrella. This probably also means that you and I can spend less time coordinating standards, and that the need for special products that talk to many types of smart homes at once can decrease. It can also mean that it will not be as much of a problem that some things can only be controlled by Google Assistant, while other things talk to Apple HomeKit and Siri.
As of today, products such as Athom Homey and Samsung SmartThings are absolutely necessary to make many smart homes work, and to make different assistants go around each other with devices that do not support everything on their own.
The same goes for relatively straightforward expertise in everything from networking to reindeer-nailed do-it-yourself efforts with soldering irons and low-voltage electricity. It all depends on how hard you go about the idea of automating your nest; some build smart screens with weather forecast and status info from the vacuum cleaner robot and cloud-connected bathroom scale right in the mirror in the bathroom. Others just want some light on the remote control.
Zigbee are big, but not alone
At the same time, it’s okay to be a little skeptical of the Zigbee Alliance’s promises. As with all standards, Zigbee does not come alone. Z Wave is one of the competitors to the standard, and between a number of more and less professional wireless automation standards, there are also a number of smart home gadgets that skip having their own standard but instead connect directly to the WiFi.
But Zigbee is just as huge, and has the aforementioned Apple and Google in the membership, along with Signify, better known as Philips Hue. The giant Amazon is also a member of the organization, and their Alexa products and Echo speakers are very popular in the United States, although not very widespread on our continent.
As the show often goes for this type of specifications, a draft is first made that will be tested for a short time, before the finished version is released a little later. The alliance is not expected to be completed until next year.
In this type of standardization job, drafts are often shared as they come, so that support for end products can come faster than the alliance’s timetable and wording suggest. For other types of things, such as routers, it has happened that draft standards have been used by finished products for a period of time while waiting for a full and finished standard.