Week in smart home: Amazon joining Zigbee Alliance is a significant moment

And the best smart home deals of the week

The week in smart home
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Welcome to the Week in Smart Home – our round up of the news you might have missed, sending you into the weekend like one of Elon Musk’s big shiny space tubes.

We have news from Amazon and Google which could be significant for the smart home – and a host of smart home deals as well. If you’re looking to save money on smart home devices, scroll down for some top picks.

Amazon joins Zigbee Alliance

Week in smart home: Amazon joining Zigbee Alliance is a significant moment

Sometimes it’s the smallest snippets of news that can prove to be the most interesting, and news that Amazon is joining the board at the Zigbee Alliance is evidence of that. Zigbee is a technology that helps smart home devices communicate – faster, more stable and using lower energy than Wi-Fi.

Amazon adopted it for the Echo Plus and 2018 Echo Show, which is a Zigbee hub that can connect compliant products automatically. And now Amazon has a seat at the table, shaping the priorities and future decisions of Zigbee.

Now, it’s not that difficult to get a seat at that table. You just have to be one of Zigbee’s biggest customers – reports The Verge – and that only requires sending around $75,000 its way annually, which is nothing. But with Amazon essentially driving the smart home market right now, it’s now going to be a highly influential voice.

So in real terms, what does this mean? Well, we’d dare to suggest that Amazon could double down on Zigbee integration, which could mean integrating hub technology into more devices – which would essentially finish off the idea of the smart home hub.

This would likely swing the smart home market the way of Zigbee, away from Z-Wave which is the rival standard.

Other companies on the Zigbee board are SmartThings (which Amazon is currently rendering increasingly irrelevant) Signify (Philips Hue) and Comcast – so there’s plenty of dollar behind the standard. Watch this space.

Week in smart home: Amazon joining Zigbee Alliance is a significant moment

Google Express gets Walmart blow

Another interesting report this week suggests that Walmart has dropped support for Google Express, the service that enables customers to shop from their Google Assistant-powered smart speakers.

Richard Windsor over at Forbes writes: “Google Express has admitted on Twitter that Walmart is no longer on its website. This is not a result of a sudden souring of the relationship between Google and Walmart but more about Walmart not seeing meaningful volume from Google Express.”

One of the big benefits of the Amazon Echo and Alexa is shopping – which benefits both users and Amazon itself. As Google doesn’t have a shopping service, Express was its way of matching Amazon – but it seems the service isn’t getting any traction. Advantage Alexa.

Week in smart home: Amazon joining Zigbee Alliance is a significant moment

Walmart smart lighting sale

Sticking with Walmart this week, there’s a smart lighting sale going on. There are deals to be had on Lifx and TP-Link bulbs, which is good news for anyone getting started or bulking our their smart home. Check them out here.

TP-Link KB130 A19 Smart Light Bulb - $29.97 (save $15)

LIFX A19 Smart Light Bulb, 75W Color LED, 1-Pack $47.99 (save $12)

LIFX Mini A19 Smart Light Bulb, 60W Color LED, 1-Pack $35.99 (save $10)

And over at Amazon there’s some great smart home deals as well:

Amazon Echo Dot - $29.99 (save $20)

Lifx Mini Color A19 $35.99 (save $10)

Philips Hue starter pack, 4 bulbs and hub $179.99 (save $30)

Week in smart home: Amazon joining Zigbee Alliance is a significant moment

The Ambient Hotlist

If you’re a smart home watcher it would be remiss of us not to point you in the direction of The Ambient Hotlist 2019. It’s our pick of the things to watch this year, and no matter whether you’re interested in the direction the smart home is likely to take, or just looking for the hottest unreleased products and when to expect them, it’s a great snapshot of what’s set to happen to your smart home in 2019.

This week's best deals

Roborock S4 - Save $40
Roborock S4 - Save $40
Lifx smart light bulb - Save $20
Lifx smart light bulb - Save $20
Blink XT2 2-Pack - Save $45 (Prime exclusive)
Blink XT2 2-Pack - Save $45 (Prime exclusive)
Google Nest Hub - Save $20
Google Nest Hub - Save $20

TAGGED    amazon    smart home

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