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An Attempt to Clear Smart Device Connectivity Hurdles

A lack of standards is one challenge facing utilities developing intelligent energy devices. Currently, connecting a smart energy meter to a smart light is challenging because the products lack a common network interface. The Zigbee Alliance is trying to address that limitation with its Project Connected Home over IP initiative.

The group has begun developing a connectivity standard designed to simplify deployment and integration of smart home devices. Support for the work is widespread. Amazon, Apple, Google, and the Zigbee Alliance formed the Working Group. IKEA, Legrand, NXP Semiconductors, Resideo, Samsung SmartThings, Schneider Electric, Signify (formerly Philips Lighting), Silicon Labs, Somfy, and Wulian plan to contribute to the work.

The industry Working Group is taking an open-source approach with the development of its protocol. Consequently, utilities and vendors will be able to use the software for free. The Project Connected Home over IP working group plans to deliver its first release of the specification by the end of the year. Compliant products and services should start to arrive in 2021.

How much interest does your company have in such work? What impact do you think it will have on the residential home energy market?

Paul Korzeniowski's picture

Thank Paul for the Post!

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Eric Van Orden's picture
Eric Van Orden on Mar 31, 2020 10:27 pm GMT

It's going to be a real challenge to increase consumer adoption of smart home devices, if different products can't connect/communicate seamlessly and simply. I'm not talking about one mobile app to rule them all. Opening an energy monitoring app, then flipping over the the smart t-stat or EV charger app to limit demand for a TOU rate/DR incentive isn't convenient. But, we're talking about a couple of finger swipes...NBD. Simple installation and integration of the hardware is the current pain point for consumers. There isn't a portfolio of smart home devices (t-stats, lights, EV chargers, etc.) under one brand/maker today and there won't be, if consumers don't adopt any smart home devices because getting a hub and connection for each one is expensive and cumbersome. 

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Apr 1, 2020 12:45 pm GMT

Agreed with this Eric. Leads me to wonder-- is there are comparable business type that had this type of initial challenge in pain points? I'm wondering where we can look for an example of how that industry may have successfully gotten over that hump, or even where such a problem led to failure so there's at least a roadmap of what to avoid. I consider myself pretty tech savvy, but I can't deny that installing and managing the few smart devices I have in my home is still sometimes overly arduous 

Paul Korzeniowski's picture
Paul Korzeniowski on Apr 2, 2020 1:30 pm GMT

This problem comes with every new technology. When something new emerges, there are no standard interfaces, so   vendors build their own. Once the technology starts to take hold, some type of standards group is formed, and they hash out a common set of features. The networking component is only one home device element. The Zigbee Alliance has been instrumental in developing standards for home network devices. Applications also need ways to talk to one another. This work is often quite cumbersome. Fortunately in the last 10 years of so, software has become smarter. The emergence of Application Programming Interfaces enables different vendor to focus more on taking advantage of the application features and less on getting the infrastructure (servers, networks, storage) to work.  In sum, eventually the needed work should get done but more pieces need to be in place before home devices become as simple to use your phone. 


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