Amazon introduced a version of Echo with Zigbee support more than a year ago. That compatibility allowed the speaker to connect directly to a whole new world of smart home devices. Like light bulbs, power outlets and small sensors that it might not have otherwise been able to reach.
The Ring home alarm system , which Amazon owns, also connects to Zigbee.
Signify, the company behind the popular Philips Hue smart lights; and Comcast, which uses Zigbee in its Xfinity Home security solution.
Amazon is paying that money, the company wants a say in what future versions of Zigbee can do.
It also shows Amazon taking a view on which smart home standard it would like to see win.
Zigbee's most direct competitor is an alternative called Z-Wave, which hardware manufacturers have criticized for relying on proprietary chips.
Amazon is likely to be one of many companies in the smart home industry that would prefer to avoid dealing with the costly parts that could arise if Z-Wave were to grow in popularity.