Opinion: Why Smart Home Industry needs to look above the walls of their Gardens?.
Every major player in the smart home industry goes about their business and develops smart home products for their existing customers. “Hello Siri! Turn on the bedroom light ”, I cannot use this phrase in my living room as Echo controls devices in this room and these devices are not HomeKit compatible. The smart home market is estimated at $ 90 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow significantly in the next 5 years, but we still do not have a single standard for developing these devices.
It’s like a wild west in the smart home industry
Let’s take a customer perspective: I buy a light bulb that is compatible with Amazon and Google Assistant, but it is completely useless if I want to use it with an iPhone unless it is also HomeKit certified. The lack of a common standard gives each manufacturer complete control over how they design the communication protocol, the pairing process, and the interface for the device. For example, HomeKit devices come with a QR code that needs to be scanned to pair the device, a Google Assistant compatible device will have a different pairing method, etc.
Of course there are workarounds for connecting incompatible IoT devices, and I recently wrote an article on how to integrate non-HomeKit certified devices into the Home app using HomeBridge, but this method is tricky and requires some lubrication on the elbows, so it’s counterintuitive for the average Joe to use this method.
Wi-Fi and Bluetooth have IEEE standards that give each manufacturer guidance on how to properly implement the technology on their devices. There is one standard way to connect your device to Wi-Fi, and it is the same for all devices. I just want this for smart home devices.
Gleam of hope
Connected Home Over IP is a joint project aimed at developing a single standard by which smart home devices will interact. Why do I think this is a great idea? Firstly, it will be completely open and free, and secondly, it will be developed on the basis of the existing Internet protocol. This will simplify device development and simplify the process across different platforms. It is currently in its infancy, and if this project picks up steam and these companies start using a standard protocol, it will literally bring smart home devices together. A win-win for everyone. You can find out more about the project on their website and see which companies are participating in it. The Zigbee Alliance is leading the project right now, and many big players have signed up to be part of it. With companies like Apple, Samsung, Amazon, Google, IKEA and many more, I can dream of a smarter future.