What you need to know
- Zigbee Alliance has announced that CHIP products should be ready later this year.
- Project Connected Home over Internet Protocol seeks to unify IoT devices to make them easier to buy and use.
- Some new products like the Nest Hub (Gen 2) will work with the new protocol.
Google, Amazon, Apple, and more than 170 companies have teamed up to make buying smart home appliances less of a hassle, thanks to Project Connected Home over Internet Protocol, or CHIP. The new protocol was announced in 2019 as part of a group managed by Zigbee Alliance and has been in the works for some time. It looks like the wait for the first products may be ending soon, with the first devices expected this year.
In a webinar on Friday, Zigbee Alliance announced that device makers have already begun testing their devices and that the first CHIP-certified products should receive certification before the end of the year. Hopefully, this means new CHIP-certified devices will be launched later this year.
Why does this matter? Our Nick Sutrich explains the benefits that Project CHIP can have on creating a smart smart home. In a nutshell, the purpose of CHIP is to help unify smart home IoT products with a single protocol, moving away from the disparate protocols that cause fragmentation with many smart home devices. This means that you, as a consumer, won't have to worry about buying whether or not the best smart home products you buy will work with your existing ecosystem. This can also help retailers create a simplified buying experience for selling products like smart lights, door locks, security systems, and more.
Some devices already support the Thread mesh technology behind CHIP, such as the recently launched Google Nest Hub (2nd Gen), and according to The Verge, existing products may eventually be bridged to work with the new protocol as well. Thanks to CHIP, 2022 could be the year of the smarter smart home.
Derrek is a long-time Nokia and LG fanboy who loves astronomy, videography, and sci-fi movies. When he's not working, he's most likely working out or smoldering at the camera.
Nobody likes the current multiple hubs in order to access all of the devices you'd like to use with it's circuitous routes to make one thing talk to another, but there's really no guarantee that Apple, Philips, and others won't continue their fairly consistent practice of making some of their equipment not operate with other vendors' products. Some folks just don't seem to understand what "standard" means.
Take Apple's HomePod mini for example. It requires and iThing to set it up. It only recognizes on ZigBee hub (Philips Hue) and then it won't even recognize many third-party products that do work with the Hue but aren't Hue branded.
That's not to say I won't buy CHIP. I probably will once I also find a CHIP USB stick that works with Home Assistant. Then I can continue to use all the ZWave and ZigBee stuff I've already bought and add in CHIP (and Thread?) as devices actually become available and reasonably priced.
Price versus convenience will be the issue. Many of us already have lots of IoT stuff and having to get all new stuff just because it'll all work under the same protocol sounds really expensive. Most of my stuff is wifi because I saw the zigbee versus zwave argument getting messy and wifi stuff was cheaper in the end. I'm happy with my wifi stuff and will stick with it.
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