Market Trend
Enterprises for the popularization of smart home to wait
10 months ago Clicks
With the development of science and technology, the popularization of mobile phones and the development of wireless technology, as well as various investments and layouts made by technology companies in the field of smart home, this seemingly far away smart device has gradually entered our life.

Although there are many brands on the market, most of them are unrelated, which makes sense. Want Amazon to open the door for you and allow couriers to deliver? You'll need an Amazon home security camera, Cloud Cam, and a designated smart door lock from Kwikset or Yale. Want a home security system powered by Google's (Google) smart home brand Nest? You'd need another smart door lock from Yale, and it's not compatible with smart doorbells from the startup Ring(now acquired by Amazon). If you're interested in HomeKit, Apple's smart home platform, you won't be able to install Nest's security system, nor will Siri be able to perform commands to check Cloud Cam.

Earlier this month, foreign media reported that amazon may stop selling Nest products from Google's smart home brand, making it more difficult for amazon and Google's products to support each other. Amazon is said to have told Nest late last year that it would no longer store new Nest products, including smart thermostats and other devices. Amazon declined to comment and Google did not respond. But reports say Google Nest has decided to stop selling its products on amazon. Amazon will only stop selling Nest devices in its own products, but third-party sellers on the platform will still be able to sell Nest products. Amazon has stopped selling Google products such as Chromecast and Home, which compete directly with amazon's Fire TV and Echo, respectively.

The driving force is clear: tech giants like amazon, Google and apple see the smart home as a virgin to be developed, and they want to carve up the existing market through their respective ecosystems. While they are somewhat open to outside partners, they also exploit their own hardware to develop proprietary features. So if you buy too much of one brand, you are increasingly moving away from other brands.

However, it doesn't have to be this way. Internet users will not be banned from browsing the web based on their browser preferences. In the same way, the Internet of Things shouldn't ban some services just because people buy the "wrong" smart camera or speaker. Smart home devices should be interoperable, and tech giants need to change their thinking and improve industry standards.

You can talk to me (but I don't have to)

The tech giants are responding to the smart home in much the same way they did to mobile devices a few years ago. They went against the idea of interaction by designing their own platforms, where developers built applications using the tools available on the platform. Instead of connectivity, app stores are proliferating.

All of this is at odds with the open Internet environment. "In the past, they always talked about an API (Application Programming Interface), but there's a big difference," says Tobin Richardson, President of the ZigBee Alliance, which promotes interaction in the smart home. An open API data interface means that you can program on my system. In fact, it's not an open ecosystem, it's just saying: You tell me, I'm listening. "

For smartphones and tablets, the closed-end approach is not a bad idea. At least for apple and Google, whose platforms have a near-monopoly on the market. Compared with Web applications, native apps are more streamlined and efficient. What's more, the split between the two platforms is not bad news for consumers and developers: it's a boon for people with selection difficulties.

The smart home market, however, is a bit more complex. The major platforms collaborate in some areas but compete in others. For example, you can't use an Amazon Echo to control a Nest thermostat, or use an Amazon Fire TV to view any of Nest's cameras. However, you can direct Alexa to turn on Nest's home security system, and when Nest's smart doorbell rings, you can ask it who's knocking. Consumers have to make tradeoffs about whether the product they want to buy will work with other brands they want. The choice is more difficult than "Buy an iPhone or An Android phone."

Consumers can buy products that are compatible with multiple platforms, such as Ecobee's thermostat, which works with all major voice assistants, or August's smart door lock, which works perfectly with HomeKit, Nest, Alexa, and more. Consumers can also rely on "network automation artifacts" such as IFTTT(if this, then that) and Stringify to solve the problem of cross-platform and cross-device synchronization, allowing products from different domains to link to each other.

At some point, however, it's not easy to keep all platforms and devices compatible. For developers, it is even harder. Originally, they were just making applications for different platforms, but now they have to balance different ecosystems and a refined user base.

"It's a nightmare from a developer's perspective," said Gary Martz, a spokesman for the Open Connectivity Foundation, the Internet of Things standards body that aims to unify interoperability standards for smart homes. I used to develop one set of API data interfaces, interfaces, and security protocols, but now I have to do three, four, or even five at the same time, because different users choose different vendors. "

The standards war for open connectivity

Some third parties are trying to address these issues through a more open standard system. To take a simple example, the core idea is that amazon does not have to explicitly support rival products like Google or apple, but instead supports a common standard to ensure collaboration.

"Vendor A is not going to collaborate with vendor B and C to interact with each other's products," said Gary Martz. However, if there is a neutral third party with mutual trust, they will become more welcoming of the convergence between platforms. "

To be sure, these efforts are far from enough to achieve standardization. OCF's founding members include Intel, Samsung, Microsoft, LG and Qualcomm, with LG and Samsung refrigerators, A Haier washing machine and The Sure Universal remote all certified by the organisation. With the organization's certification process finally in place, Martz said, there will be a flood of brands.

"You're going to see more OCF-certified products in 2018, mainly smart homes from major vendors," he promises. "

If every company adopted the OCF standard, everything would be much easier. However, there is more than one Internet of Things standards group. The Zigbee Alliance launched Dotdot, the universal language for the Internet of Things, last year and is expected to start certifying products in the third quarter of this year. The project will first open up products using Thread's network architecture, followed by more commonly used wireless protocols such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

Many standards bodies are exploring the possibility of "collaboration" in areas such as security, says Tobin Richardson, and there is even talk of a merger. However, Tobin believes it will all depend on how well their technologies fit.

"Our goal is to help member companies bring their products to market and provide consumers with a good shopping experience with a variety of choices," said Richardson. So if there is a possibility of cooperation at the organizational level, we will be very welcoming and supportive."

Things got a little more complicated earlier this month when NICE, Network of Intelligent Camera Ecosystems, launched. NICE alliance focuses on specific issues such as technical standards and specifications for monitors. NICE alliance focuses on the popularization of features such as facial recognition, online backup and security, giving camera manufacturers with limited resources and funds a fair chance to challenge the dominance of mainstream manufacturers such as amazon and Google.

In some ways, the NICE Alliance is just another competitor trying to stir things up, but there is also the potential for harmony. Although the camera is not the focus of alliances like OCF and ZigBee, it is also a key component for many tech giants to build smart door locks. David Lee, chief executive of the NICE Alliance, which was led by Silicon Valley start-up Scenera, said: "NICE looks at the work of standards organisations such as OCF and ZigBee and also looks at areas where their standards do not cover. We are happy to experiment with as many API data interfaces and open standards as possible.
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