The interconnected nature of smart home technology has long been the subject of discussion, especially with regard to the “walled gardens” that sprang up around different platforms. Many opinion pieces (our own included) said that the smart home would never be truly “smart” until interoperability became commonplace. Today, a number of different companies came together to announce the launch of the Home Connectivity Alliance, an organization devoted to creating interoperable appliances within the home. This announcement might pale in comparison to CES 2022 launches of a massive new TV or a nifty new robot vacuum, but it’s just as important.
The HCA is made up of American Standard Heating and Air Condition, Arcelik, The Electrolux Group, Haier, GE Appliances, Samsung Electronics, and Trane Residential. The presence of some of these companies comes as a surprise given their relatively low profile in the smart home market, but Samsung’s membership is no surprise at all. Samsung has long been a proponent of Matter, another platform pushing for interconnectivity between devices.
According to Yoon Ho Choi, President of the Home Connectivity Alliance and Global Head of Planning and Partnership, Home IoT Business, Samsung Electronics, said “A simple and secure connected home has been a long-standing dream for the industry, and it is time to make it a reality. Consumer homes are filled with long-life appliances and systems across multiple manufacturers. Consumers should have the flexibility to purchase and operate multiple brand appliances that work together without locking the user into a single platform. We believe that manufacturers, who truly understand their consumer needs, lead the way for building an interoperable connected home ecosystem.”
In addition to providing consumers with more choice, the HCA aims to keep data privacy first. It’s described as one of the “key pillars” of HCA’s mission. Of equal importance to data privacy is general safety. A device that has a camera or microphone should provide convenience without unwanted listening, while appliances that transmit high voltages, such as a washer or dryer, should pose no risk to the user at all. The HCA promises to prioritize consumer safety in the ever-changing landscape of the smart home.
This alliance is just one of many protocols and movements that seek to destroy the arbitrary walls established around smart home technology. In time, it will hopefully mean that your devices can update you on their status from a single app, rather than relying on a half-dozen or more different apps to control different devices.
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