Amazon, Google, and Apple, usually at odds in the competition for virtual assistant domination, decided to work together to improve and standardize conditions for smart home devices going forward.
While the insane amount of opportunities on the smart home front for tech companies, efforts by each company to get a leg up has proven to be at the expense of customers. Since there is no standard for connectivity, a lot of consumers just end up confused on if their device is compatible with other devices, let alone how they connect. Amazon and Google are doing okay in terms of connectivity, but Apple is definitely trailing behind
This alliance between the major players in virtual assistants is being organized to hopefully address these concerns and ultimately benefit consumers. They are partnering with the Zigbee Alliance, an organization that “promotes standards for the Internet of Things.” Some members of this alliance are Samsung and Ikea. They are hoping that bringing all of these companies together will make the experience of setting up a smart home a lot easier and more intuitive, without having to worry if all of your devices will be able to connect to the voice assistant device you own.
The ultimate goal is to put in place a universal standard, and companies’ compliance with the standard will be signalled by the presence of a logo.
The protocol is said to be ready sometime in 2020, and for now, their focus will be on safety devices, such as smoke detectors.
Sounds good, right?
With more connectivity comes more concerns for privacy issues. Sure it would be great to have this perfectly well-connected smart house in which communication between devices is seamless, but the alliance has issued some concern for the increased transfer of customer information. With a more collaborative network of devices, it seems possible that all companies will have access to most or all information. This definitely needs to be a consideration for the band of companies working together; measures should be taken to be extremely transparent in their actions and to safeguard against potential security breaches.
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Hannah Michelle Lambert is the Social Media + Events Coordinator at Worthix, as well as the host of the monthly CX News Recap segment. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan.