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Alexa, Siri, Google Assistant, and other voice assistants and connected home products are the target of a new Internet of Things probe the European Commission launched today.

The European Commission says that it's aiming to prevent big companies from becoming "gatekeepers" of the Internet of Things through market domination and data collection.

ios14compactsiri.jpg
The potential is incredible. But we'll only see the full benefits - low prices, wide choice, innovative products and services - if the markets for these devices stay open and competitive. And the trouble is that competition in digital markets can be fragile. When big companies abuse their power, they can very quickly push markets beyond the tipping point, where competition turns to monopoly. We've seen that happen before. If we don't act in good time, there's a serious risk that it will happen again, with the Internet of Things.

And one of the key issues here is data. Voice assistants and smart devices can collect a vast amount of data about our habits. And there's a risk that big companies could misuse the data collected through such devices, to cement their position in the market against the challenges of competition. They might even use their knowledge of how we access other services to enter the market for those services and take it over.
It's important, says the European Commission, to ensure that smart devices are "truly interoperable" with one another as the Internet of Things market grows, allowing customers the freedom to find the best product on the market without worrying which about which devices it might or might not be compatible with.

The sector inquiry into the Internet of Things will allow the European Commission to "spot problems" and then "take action while there's still time." Right now, the European Commission is seeking data and has sent questionnaires to 400 companies in Europe, Asia, and America that sell smart home appliances, wearables, and voice assistants, along with businesses that provide services that can be used through the aforementioned devices.

The European Commission is questioning companies on how smart products work together and possible problems that might arise making them interoperable. The results of the questionnaires will let the commission find situations where "companies may have broken the competition rules" and will provide information for future regulatory initiatives.

Apple's Siri voice assistant was specifically mentioned in the commission's letter, and the Cupertino-based company will also likely have to answer questions about HomeKit, its smart home framework that supports HomeKit-connected devices.

Article Link: European Commission Launches Internet of Things Probe Targeting Siri, Alexa and More
 

tkukoc

Cancelled
Sep 16, 2014
1,533
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The European Commission says that it's aiming to prevent big companies from becoming "gatekeepers" of the Internet of Things through market domination and data collection.

That is hilarious to me.. what exactly are they doing with their commissions? Collecting data and becoming gatekeepers themselves. Some serious bias happening toward tech companies to say the very least.. not that they are squeaky clean by any means.
 

dredlew

macrumors regular
Jun 30, 2014
103
125
TF does that mean? “...that smart devices are "truly interoperable" with one another...” What a load of horse manure. Since when are Xbox games playing on a PlayStation or Nintendo? No, not everything is universal and compatible with the world. And that’s the manufacturer’s decision. The EU can develop their own unicorn product if they think they can please everyone. Smh
 

ruka.snow

macrumors 68000
Jun 6, 2017
1,609
4,166
Scotland
TF does that mean? “...that smart devices are "truly interoperable" with one another...” What a load of horse manure. Since when are Xbox games playing on a PlayStation or Nintendo? No, not everything is universal and compatible with the world. And that’s the manufacturer’s decision. The EU can develop their own unicorn product if they think they can please everyone. Smh

It isn't anything to do with games consoles. They are making it so you don't get caught up always having to buy Philip's lightbulbs because they are the only ones that work with your phone.
 

johnnytravels

macrumors regular
Oct 24, 2019
140
435
The European Commission says that it's aiming to prevent big companies from becoming "gatekeepers" of the Internet of Things through market domination and data collection.

That is hilarious to me.. what exactly are they doing with their commissions? Collecting data and becoming gatekeepers themselves. Some serious bias happening toward tech companies to say the very least.. not that they are squeaky clean by any means.

It's hilarous to you because you don't understand the difference between a corporation and a government.
 

CarlJ

Contributor
Feb 23, 2004
5,645
9,883
San Diego, CA, USA
TF does that mean? “...that smart devices are "truly interoperable" with one another...” What a load of horse manure. Since when are Xbox games playing on a PlayStation or Nintendo?
You missed the phrase “smart devices”, at least in the context they mean. Not Xbox, think “smart light bulbs” and smart switches.

There’s considerable benefit to interoperability. There’s considerable danger in forcing everything to Least Common Denominator - at one end of the spectrum, HomeKit requires vendors to jump through a lot of security hoops, while at the other end of the spectrum there are devices that bounce a request in your living room, to turn your lights on/off, through a server in China. I’d like Apple to stick with the security aspect, please.
 

siddavis

macrumors 6502
Feb 23, 2009
297
727
It's hilarous to you because you don't understand the difference between a corporation and a government.
What is your point? That the government is benevolent and should have this power? Corporations don't have the rule of law and ability to compel people to do something for fear of fines or imprisonment. Again, in who's hands is it more dangerous?
 

Mizhou

macrumors member
Oct 15, 2012
49
23
Didn’t Apple, Google, and Amazon just enter in agreement that would make this all actually work? Like all of the smart home devices would work together, no matter what platform it was on? Wouldn’t that solve this problem

They did, along with a handful of other companies.

From the page I linked below “Zigbee Alliance board member companies such as IKEA, Legrand, NXP Semiconductors, Resideo, Samsung SmartThings, Schneider Electric, Signify (formerly Philips Lighting), Silicon Labs, Somfy, and Wulian are also on board to join the working group and contribute to the project”

 
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applepuree

macrumors 6502
Aug 15, 2014
394
577
Great idea EU, then we can all work at the level of the lowest common denominator.

As much as I love the EU, they do have some strange ideas sometimes.
 

iamgalt

macrumors 6502
Jul 25, 2012
259
766
It isn't anything to do with games consoles. They are making it so you don't get caught up always having to buy Philip's lightbulbs because they are the only ones that work with your phone.
You missed the phrase “smart devices”, at least in the context they mean. Not Xbox, think “smart light bulbs” and smart switches.

Both of you seemed to missed the point of the comment. They were simply using game consoles as an example of the idea. Is the EC trying to tell Sony that Playstation needs to play Xbox games, and visa versa? No. Why is the EC not allowing Apple, Google, or Amazon to have their own product in a particular field (digital assistants) that is only compatible with their own standards, but the EC has no problem with Sony making a product in their own field (video games) that is not universal; allowing Microsoft's and Nintendo's standards to work on a playstation?

ruka.snow, according to your comment, a person shouldn't get caught up in always having to buy only Playstation games because it cannot play Xbox games.
 

coldwaves

macrumors 6502
May 30, 2011
385
190
I would think that investigating big companies may not be the correct approach. Rather, initiating international collaboration to come into consensus of a shared standard might be the right long-term approach. I remember that some big names in IoT came up with some sort of agreement in the last few years. It seems what's productive to do is to ensure that everyone comply with that.
 

jimbobb24

macrumors 68000
Jun 6, 2005
1,860
2,852
I am torn. On the one hand 99.9% of politicians are satan spawn running around doing nothing good and generally screwing up lives.

On the other hand, the big tech companies have been acting like 95% satan spawn and I just dont feel any need to defend them.
 
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