Let’s kick off with two smart devices stories.
First, Project Connected Home over IP posted an update to their project, indicating the work is ongoing and targeting a 2021 release. This brings together Amazon, Apple, Google and the Zigbee Alliance to create a standard for interoperability of devices. The announcement also clarifies the device categories: “lighting and electrical (e.g., light bulbs, luminaires, controls, plugs, outlets), HVAC controls (e.g., thermostats, AC units), access control (e.g., door locks, garage doors), safety and security (e.g., sensors, detectors, security systems), window coverings/shades, TVs, access points, bridges and others.”
Unrelated, Amazon has partnered with AT&T to allow customers to link their phone numbers to their Alexa account to both make and receive calls. This feature was already available in Germany and the UK with select providers.
Why do we care?
An interoperability framework for smart devices extends beyond just the idea of home automation (although there is plenty of opportunity there). While I’m expecting lots of options for consumers and the home, my larger interest is in commercial applications.
Ubiquitous computing is the buzz word to track this under – the idea of having computing always available. Voice is a piece of this, although think about the communication capabilities of linking phone numbers to Alexa devices in this manner. If your phone number – of way of being contacted — moves with you, and is simply always available even without your handset in your pocket, it’s a different concept of unified communications.
I see lots of opportunities here.