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Apple, Google and Amazon to ship first Project CHIP smart home appliances later this year

The first smart home devices from Apple, Google, Amazon and other companies, based on the new Project CHIP interoperable standard, are scheduled to arrive later this year.


STORY HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Project CHIP stands for “Project Connected Home over IP”.
  • It’s backed by Apple, Google, Amazon and the Zigbee Alliance.
  • Compatible gadgets should work across different platforms.
  • The interoperable standard uses Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Thread.
  • It’s not a replacement for Apple’s HomeKit.

Project CHIP is getting real

The Zigbee Alliance has made the announcement in a webinar, spotted by The Verge.

The alliance will begin to certify smart home accessories later this year, meaning the first compatible products should go on sale in time for the holiday shopping season. The first batch of Project CHIP accessories will include smart appliances such as lighting, blinds, HVAC controls, TVs, door locks, garage door openers, security systems and Wi-Fi routers.

The interoperable standard uses Wi-Fi, Bluetooth LE and Thread. Bluetooth LE is used to set up devices. Wi-Fi is for high-bandwidth use cases like streaming video. Thread, a mesh network protocol, is for sharing data between low-bandwidth devices such as motion sensors.

Apple’s HomePod mini uses Thread as well.

CHIP support could also trickle down to bridges, potentially enabling existing and older smart home appliances to work with future CHIP gadgets. According to Stacey On IoT, Project CHIP is also considering blockchain-based solutions to improve smart home security.

Bringing order to smart home chaos

Project CHIP was announced in December 2019 with backing from the biggest technology players like Apple, Google, Amazon and the Zigbee Alliance. The Zigbee Alliance alone comprises more than 500 different companies working on smart devices, including everyone from Comcast to Ikea to Samsung.

The Project CHIP working group says the standard’s primary goal is to simplify development for manufacturers and increase compatibility for consumers: “The project is built around a shared belief that smart home devices should be secure, reliable and seamless to use.”

The royalty-free, open-source connectivity standard promises to make possible smart home devices that will work across different software platforms and devices. That said, however, It remains to be seen whether Project CHIP can fulfill its promise.

We’re keeping our fingers crossed because the whole smart home thing is a good example of how technology can sometimes make things more difficult and complicated than necessary. At its heart, Project CHIP is an attempt at unifying a really broken environment for smart home appliances so here’s hoping that it manages to bring order to the smart home chaos.

Or perhaps that’s just wishful thinking?

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