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by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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Project CHIP devices will start rolling out in late 2021

Stacey Higginbotham of Stacey on IoT has some details on the upcoming launch of products based on the new Connected Home over IP standard that counts Apple, Amazon, and Google as members:

Today we learned a lot. Specifically, we know that the 180 member companies (there were 170 at the beginning of the year) are hosting certification testing events that will run through September and that the companies who participate in those events will likely be the first to get their products certified in “late 2021.” This means we’ll likely see CHIP-certified devices in time for the holidays. The panelists also confirmed that CHIP devices will use Wi-Fi for high bandwidth applications and Thread for low bandwidth applications. The standard will also use Bluetooth Low Energy for device provisioning, which is a nice win for BLE because those radios will still be inside most smart home devices. That makes sense given that provisioning is likely to happen in most homes using a mobile handset.

Of course, all three of those technologies are included in the HomePod mini already, which means that Apple’s well positioned to offer it as a smart home hub once the CHIP devices start appearing.

According to Higginbotham’s report, the first devices to roll out will be “lighting, blinds, HVAC, TVs, access controls, safety & security products, access points, smart home controllers, and bridges.”

As to how existing devices will cope with the new standard, that seems like it will vary based on the manufacturer and whether or not they decide to update those devices, as well as the technological capabilities, such as having the correct radio chips and sufficient memory.

There are some other outstanding questions, the biggest of which revolve around how devices from Apple, Amazon, and Google will work with the new system. For those hoping for a unified smart home future, there may still be some stumbling blocks on the way.

—Linked by Dan Moren

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