HomeBuildingsAmazon, Comcast, NXP, Schneider develop Zigbee interoperability updates

Amazon, Comcast, NXP, Schneider develop Zigbee interoperability updates

The Zigbee Alliance is coordinating efforts from the likes of Amazon, Comcast, Landis+Gyr, NXP, Osram and Schneider Electric to make smart home and IoT products easier to develop, deploy, and sell across ecosystems.

The new All Hubs Initiative, driven by a Zigbee Alliance workgroup, is working to improve interoperability between IoT devices and major consumer and commercial platforms.

The initiative is not geared to create a new version of the Zigbee technology, but a set of updates to the Zigbee specification at both the application and network layers. These seek to maintain the flexibility of Zigbee to improve interoperability.

They also further standardise the process of commissioning and operating Zigbee devices based on the best practices of Alliance members.  These updates will be part of Zigbee 3.1, the next version of the Zigbee standard, scheduled for release later in 2019.  

Chris DeCenzo, chair of the All Hubs Initiative workgroup, board director of the Zigbee Alliance, and principal engineer at Amazon, said: “Consumers and businesses want connected devices that offer value and convenience, work great, and work together seamlessly

“Through the All Hubs Initiative, leading IoT companies in the Zigbee Alliance are working together to define interoperability standards to help device makers innovate and expand selection while continuing to deliver consistent, reliable experiences for customers.”

The Zigbee standard was designed to support flexibility across innovative offerings from Amazon, Samsung SmartThings, Philips Hue, IKEA, and others. But members noted such flexibility creates challenges for device vendors and users in terms of interoperability.

Tobin Richardson, president and chief at the Zigbee Alliance, commented: “As innovation across the IoT continues to accelerate, device vendors need to ensure their products can adapt to the diverse and evolving requirements of multiple ecosystems, and reliably work across major IoT hubs.

“The All Hubs Initiative is not just an important effort in strengthening interoperability, but a phenomenal example of how global industry leaders and innovators come together within the Zigbee Alliance to share best practices and solve industry-wide challenges.”

Updated features and Zigbee 3.1 itself will be backwards compatible with Zigbee 3.0 certified devices and hubs.

Zigbee Alliance members already have access to the specifications, ahead of the ratification of the full 3.1 feature set.

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