An initiative backed by Apple, Amazon, Google, and over 170 other companies is expected to finally get off the ground before the end of this year. Known as Project Connected Home over IP (CHIP), the initiative aims to make smart home products more compatible with each other.
Products certified for the new standard are expected to arrive by late 2021. These products — including lighting, blinds, TVs, door locks, and more — should feature improved interoperability across different ecosystems. With so many smart home standards out there, devices often don’t play well together. Project CHIP could change that. Older devices won’t be left out either; The Verge reports manufacturers will be able to bring Project CHIP support to older products through bridges. That means you might not have to reinvest in new smart home devices.
There are three components to Project CHIP: Bluetooth LE for setting devices up; and WiFi and Thread for connectivity. Thread is an emerging wireless standard that’s only in a few devices at the moment, including the newest Google Nest Hub, Eero routers, and Apple’s HomePod Mini.
If Project CHIP sounds familiar, that’s because the initiative was announced back in 2019, but due to complications brought on by the pandemic in 2020, its launch was delayed. Unfortunately, we’ll still have to wait until the end of 2021 for anything certified by the project to arrive, but it could introduce a new era of smart home interoperability.
Once the project does finally find its footing, customers will no longer have to worry about if a lightbulb they’re buying will work with the smart display they already own. At least that’s the promise. With nearly 200 companies showing support for the new standard, there’s plenty to be optimistic about. But we won’t really know until devices certified for the standard arrive later this year.