A Zigbee Alliance workgroup of major industry players has announced a new initiative to make it easier to design, develop and deploy smart home products that talk to each other.
The lack of interoperability is a major barrier to the rapid adoption of smart home technologies. The ‘All Hubs’ initiative is another step towards resolving that problem.
Driven by a Zigbee Alliance workgroup of major IoT players including Amazon, Comcast, Schneider Electric, Landis & Gyr, Legrand and Somfy, the alliance has the goal of improving interoperability between IoT devices and major consumer and commercial platforms.
New features, not a new technology
What this isn’t is a fundamental rethinking of the Zigbee technology. Very little will change in the detail. Instead, the All Hubs Initiative is simply a list of features that will be included in the upcoming Zigbee 3.1 release, at both the application and network layers. By not making fundamental changes to the protocol, the initiative is designed to maintain the flexibility of Zigbee while improving interoperability.
Read more: Smart Home Connectivity Options
Both the updated features and Zigbee 3.1 itself will be backward compatible with Zigbee 3.0 certified devices and hubs. Ahead of the formal launch of 3.1 later this year, there will be some early implementations of the new All Hubs Initiative features.
Nordic support Zigbee 3.0 product developments with the nRF52840 multiprotocol SoC and the nRF5 SDK for Thread and Zigbee.
The nRF5 SDK for Thread and Zigbee takes a full advantage of the multiprotocol capabilities of the nRF52840 SoC by supporting concurrent Thread/Zigbee 3.0 and Bluetooth Low Energy operation. It is a certified Zigbee compliant platform and comes with a pre-built Zigbee 3.0 stack provided as a library.
Read more: nRF5 SDK for Thread and Zigbee
Watch out for more information on future Zigbee 3.1 SDK All Hubs support coming later this year.
Committed to solving interoperability issues
The All Hubs Initiative was first conceived back in 2017 at the first annual Hive Executive IoT Summit. Following discussions on the interoperability challenges within IoT, key participants committed to working together.
They formed the All Hubs Initiative, which is now a formal technical workgroup under the Zigbee Alliance umbrella. This gives the initiative strong industry backing from a diverse range of interested stakeholders.
“Consumers and businesses want connected devices that offer value and convenience, work great, and work together seamlessly,” said Chris DeCenzo, chair of the All Hubs Initiative workgroup. He’s also board director of the Zigbee Alliance and a principal engineer at Amazon.
“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.”