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Apple, Amazon & Alphabet Alliance to Boost Smart Home Space

Big technology companies like Amazon AMZN, Alphabet’s GOOGL Google, and Apple AAPL are trying to expand in the connected home space, diversifying their range of AI-powered products from smartphone applications to smart devices that help homes function.

A smart home, besides having laptops and smartphones, includes IoT gadgets, ranging from smart speakers like Amazon Echo to smart lightbulbs and locks and all-in-one gadgets like Google Home Hub.

Enterprises are working on providing common interfaces to connect various devices to reach a point of true interoperability.

Apple, Amazon, Google Team Up for Smart Home Alliance

Three of the biggest smart-home and voice-assistant providers namely Apple, Amazon and Google recently announced formation of a new working group ‘Connected Home over IP Project’ that plans to develop and promote the adoption of a new open standard for smart home devices.

Compatibility with major voice-command systems is a primary concern for any new smart home product, and being able to tackle the big three namely Amazon's Alexa, Apple's Siri, Google's Assistant, with a single standard, will boost smart home automation than implementing three separate APIs.

This new standard will be royalty-free and well-focused on security to enable communication across smart home devices, mobile apps, and cloud services and to define a set of IP-based networking technologies for device certification.

Per a CNBC report, the group will initially focus on physical safety devices that include smoke alarms, door locks, smart plugs, security systems and heating/air conditioning controls.

Year to Date Performance

Zigbee Alliance Involvement to Aid Market Expansion

The Connected Home over IP Project will include Zigbee Alliance, the maker of another smart home protocol and its board members including Ikea, Samsung SmartThings and Signify, the company behind Philips Hue.

Notably, the Apple, Amazon and Google alliance expects that compliant devices will need to have support for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or Thread.

For instance, Google’s Thread can be radio compatible with Zigbee's 900MHz or 2.45Ghz signal and comes with the ability to be wrapped in an IP packet and travel over Wi-Fi or the Internet.

Notably, technology from each of the three smart home systems namely Apple’s HomeKit, Amazon’s Alexa, and Google’s Weave will be contributed to the new standard.

Apple's smart home ecosystem HomeKit works over IP (usually Wi-Fi) and Bluetooth. Moreover, the company’s Core ML is an example of machine learning framework for applications along with its self-driving cars.

Likewise, Amazon has the Works with Alexa program. While Echos can handle IP connections, the smart home focused models also have Zigbee’s IEEE 802.15.4-based low-power, low data-rate mesh network built into them.

Google’s Nest features the Weave communication standard, which defines how to send a message like turn on the light over the Thread or Wi-Fi network.

Market Opportunities to Aid Growth

Rising demand for energy-efficient, secure homes is a major boost for the growing smart home market. Consumer convenience is a key driver too, as smart devices can now take care of the house.

The Connected Home over IP Project will strengthen Apple, Google and Amazon’s presence in the booming smart home space on the back of growing proliferation of computing technologies, Internet usage, smart home devices and IoT devices.

Further, an IDC report indicates that global shipment of smart home devices is expected to hit 1.6 billion by 2023, driven by growing smart home devices market, which is anticipated to witness CAGR of 16.9% between 2019 and 2023.

Efforts of NVIDIA, Acuity Brands and Yandex Hard to Ignore

NVIDIA’s NVDA powerful GPUs are popular in AI research. Its AI-enabled deep learning frameworks and AI-powered devices for consumers are leading the way in AI development and contributing in smart home evolution.

The company recently announced inference software that developers can use to deliver conversational AI applications.

Moreover, Acuity Brands AYI boasts a diversified portfolio of innovative lighting control solutions and energy-efficient luminaries. The company recently unveiled its innovative portfolio of Juno AI intelligent LED Downlights, featuring built-in Alexa and integrated JBL speakers to enhance smart home automation.

Further, Yandex YNDX recently unveiled Russia’s first smart home ecosystem powered by Alice. This smart assistant enables users to control their smart home devices from multiple platforms. In addition, Yandex launched a range of gadgets — the Smart Bulb, Smart Plug and the Smart Remote Control.

Zacks Rank

NVIDIA currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Apple, Amazon, Alphabet, Acuity Brands and Yandex currently carry a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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