Tech alliance to drive open standard for smart homes

Leading names in global tech are ramping-up collaboration on an open-source standard for smart homes of the future, to avoid consumers facing frustrations around incompatibility and concerns about safety and cyber security.

Essence Group, a leading provider of IoT solutions for security, healthcare and the connected home, is the latest tech firm to join the pioneering Zigbee Alliance as a member in the Project Connected Home over IP initiative.

In doing so, Essence will contribute to developing and promoting adoption of a new, royalty-free connectivity standard to increase compatibility among smart-home products, with security as a fundamental design tenet.

The goal of the Connected Home over IP project is to simplify development for manufacturers and increase compatibility for consumers. The project is built around a shared belief that smart-home devices should be secure, reliable, and seamless to use.

By building upon Internet Protocol (IP), the project aims 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 project intends to use contributions from market-tested smart-home technologies from various member companies. The decision to leverage these technologies is expected to accelerate the development of the protocol and deliver benefits to manufacturers and consumers faster.

With 25 years’ experience in radio IoT and currently producing over 10 million devices a year, Essence Group is excited to join in and contribute to the standard, said CEO, Dr Haim Amir:

“As a global software and IoT provider with a history of developing disruptive technologies, Essence has always believed in the holistic vision of ’better life made possible‘, while building solutions at scale that emphasise security and privacy, together with an intuitive user experience.”

Multi-party collaboration will be critical to success, added Chris LaPre, Solutions Architect, Zigbee Alliance:

“Industry players are working alongside each other through the Alliance to shape the future of the IoT using open, global standards. Our members together drive meaningful connections throughout the smart home, and we welcome new additions like Essence Group to our roster of IoT visionaries.”

Essence is a global provider of IoT connected-living and cybersecurity solutions for communication, security and healthcare service providers. Essence has a strong strategic relationship with Verisure, the leading European provider of professionally monitored security systems, plus a vast deployment in senior monitoring products in the US. Essence specialises in the IoT segment driven by deep R&D and systems integration including embedded cyber security.

The Zigbee Alliance is described as the foundation and future of the Internet of Things. Established in 2002, its wide-ranging global membership collaborates to create and evolve universal open standards for the products transforming the way we live, work, and play. With robust certification programmes and a full suite of open IoT solutions, the Zigbee Alliance boasts a board of directors comprised of executives from: Amazon, Apple, Comcast, Google, IKEA, The Kroger Co.LEEDARSON, Legrand, Lutron Electronics, MMB Networks, NXP Semiconductors, Resideo Schneider Electric, Signify (formerly Philips Lighting), Silicon Labs, SmartThings, Somfy, STMicroelectronics, Texas Instruments and Wulian.

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