DAVIS, Cali. – Internet of Things standards body The Zigbee Alliance has announced the “All Hubs Initiative”, which it says will make smart home and IoT products easier to develop, deploy and sell across ecosystems.
The initiative is driven by a Zigbee Alliance workgroup comprised of IoT companies including Amazon, Comcast, Exegin, Kwikset, Landis+Gyr, LEEDARSON, Legrand, MMB Networks, NXP, OSRAM, Schneider Electric, Silicon Labs, Somfy and others, with the goal of improving interoperability between IoT devices and major consumer and commercial platforms.
The organization says the product of this effort is a set of features at the application and network layers of Zigbee that will be incorporated into the upcoming 3.1 version of Zigbee technology. A number of smart home systems will add these features to their platform certification requirements ahead of the ratification of the full 3.1 feature set to more immediately take advantage of these enhancements.
“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, board director of the Zigbee Alliance and principal engineer at Amazon, in a prepared statement. “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.”
“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,” said Tobin Richardson, president and CEO, Zigbee Alliance, also in a statement. “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.”
According to the organization, the All Hubs Initiative is not a specific version of Zigbee technology, but rather a list of features that will contribute to the core Zigbee roadmap. More specifically, they are a set of updates to the Zigbee specification at both the application and network layers that maintain the flexibility of Zigbee to meet market needs, while improving interoperability.
Zigbee says these improvements establish a method by which hubs can communicate their supported and required features to new devices that join their networks, and how those devices should configure themselves appropriately. They also further standardize the process of commissioning and operating Zigbee devices based on the best practices and real-world experience of Alliance member companies. These updates will be part of Zigbee 3.1 — the next iteration of the Zigbee standard, which is currently scheduled for release later in 2019.
These updated features and Zigbee 3.1 itself will be backwards compatible with Zigbee 3.0 certified devices and hubs. Some ecosystems however are participating in “early implementations” of the All Hubs Initiative’s features and may request device vendors support these features as part of their “Works With” programs, ahead of the formal launch of Zigbee 3.1.
The All Hubs Initiative feature set is available to current Zigbee Alliance members. If you’re already a member, visit here for details. If you’re not yet a member, click here to learn about how to join. For more information about the Zigbee Alliance, its Board of Directors, and benefits of being Zigbee Certified, visit www.zigbee.org.