Project CHIP smart home devices will land this year

Formal device certification will start in late 2021

Project CHIP will land this year
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Project Connected Home over IP (CHIP) is going to be a BIG DEAL for the smart home - that's been the official word for a couple of years now.

But now we've finally got a (rough) timeline of when we might see Project CHIP devices start to arrive.

It was revealed, during a webinar hosted by the Zigbee Alliance last week, that brands participating in the Project will be able to get smart home devices certified for the standard by late 2021.

Explainer: What is Matter for the smart home

There are some pretty big names involved in CHIP - the likes of Apple, Google and Amazon joined the Zigbee Alliance for the new protocol back in 2019, which is based around a shared belief that smart home devices should be secure, reliable, and seamless to use.

It's an initiative, we were told back then, would "simplify development for manufacturers and increase compatibility for consumers" in the smart home world.

Read: SmartThings hardware is no more

If you're not familiar with the Zigbee Alliance, it itself is pretty much a who's who in the smart home world with the likes of Ikea, Legrand, Resideo, Samsung SmartThings, Schneider Electric, Signify, Silicon Labs, Somfy, and Wulian all involved - so the new project really does cover a massive spectrum of the market.

Project CHIP is based around three wireless technologies: Thread, Bluetooth LE and Wi-Fi. Thread is the major player here though in terms of device communication - especially for the initial launch phase; Bluetooth is essentially used for initial setups where needed and Wi-Fi is only required for high-bandwidth situations.

Explainer: What is Thread

Like Zigbee and Z-Wave, Thread can connect all your devices together in a giant mesh. Unlike Zigbee and Z-Wave, Thread doesn't require a smart home hub to connect them.

The HomePod Mini was the first hub to open up its Thread radio, and the likes of Nanoleaf and Eve have already started offering HomeKit devices that are Thread compatible.

The new Nest Hub v2 is also packing a Thread radio and we're told is Project CHIP ready.

The good news with Thread, and for Project CHIP in general, is that it's a technology that can be enabled in some older devices using firmware; as long as devices support the 802.15.4 protocol then they can be upgraded to support Thread.

We'd expect the first wave of CHIP-certified devices to be small, low power gadgets; think smart home sensors, garage door controllers, smart plugs and the like.

We'll find out for sure later this year.

TAGGED    smart home

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