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Google today announced the launch of the Local Home software development kit (SDK), a technology suite intended to enhance smart home integration with Google Assistant by routing commands to devices through local networks. It’s a paradigm Google refers to as “local fulfillment,” and it ostensibly reduces the latency and improves the reliability of devices that take advantage, resulting in a superior user experience.

The Local Home SDK, which was unveiled last May during Google’s I/O 2019 developer conference and which launched in preview in July 2019, lets developers run smart code locally on Google Home Speakers and Nest Displays and tap the smart devices’ integrated Wi-Fi radios to communicate with other devices. With local TypeScript or JavaScript, it supports the logic that controls devices from GE, LIFX, Philips Hue, TP-Link, Wemo, and other manufacturers that don’t mandate two-factor authentication.

The Local Home SDK doesn’t require users to enable or configure it — developers can test JavaScript apps on-device, configure discovery protocols and the hosted JavaScript app URL through the Actions console, use tools like the Chrome Developer Console for debugging, or self-certify new apps through Google’s Test suite for smart homes. Additionally, the SDK streamlines device setup with a simplified onboarding experience that launched with GE smart lights in late 2018, and it powers Google Assistant Connect, which offloads compute workloads from connected devices onto the Assistant to complete Actions, display content, and respond to commands.

The latest version of the Local Home SDK allows developers to enter multiple scan configurations in the Actions console for a given project, enabling local fulfillment apps to handle multiple device families that might be using different discovery protocols. It supports discovery of local devices over Wi-Fi using the mDNS, UDP, or UPnP protocols. Once a local path is established, apps can send commands to devices using TCP, UDP, or HTTP.

The JavaScript files of apps ready to publish must be uploaded to the console and submitted with test suite results and certification requests, after which Google will review them and approve or deny them. Smart home Actions go through certification review for additional quality assurance validation, notes Google in support documents.

Not to be outdone, Amazon announced something akin to Local Home SDK, called Local Voice Control, in September 2018 during a hardware event. Its local device control capability runs core automatic speech recognition algorithms on Echo Plus and Echo Show devices, allowing them to understand and execute core commands in the absence of internet connectivity.


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