• The Smart Home
  • Smart Home Technology
  • the Internet of Things
  • Smart Devices

The Emerging CHIP Smart Home Standard Remains on Vendor Roadmaps

Neil Strother
May 01, 2020

Smart Home 2

Stakeholders in the smart home market continue to discuss the creation of a unified standard for interoperable products. As it stands, the smart home market is fragmented with products stuck in silos of incompatible protocols, something Guidehouse Insights has noted for years. Product silos frustrate many consumers and even experts as they try to integrate smart devices from multiple vendors.

Webinar Examines Two Questions Regarding CHIP

But now companies like Google, Apple, and Amazon are working on Project Connected Home over IP (CHIP), which was announced in December 2019. Thread Group, one of the key industry associations supporting CHIP, recently hosted a webinar to offer its perspective on the emerging CHIP standard and what this standard means for consumers and home builders. The following two questions keep being asked about CHIP:

  • Do we really need yet another Internet of Things (IoT) standard?
  • Why will CHIP succeed?

The first question was tackled by Kevin Kraus, director of technology and partner integration at Yale, who said CHIP offers the opportunity for “true convergence in the marketplace.” In other words, an admission that convergence or integration is missing from the current array of products. So, yes, we do need a viable smart home (or IoT) standard protocol. 

The answer as to why CHIP will succeed is more nuanced. CHIP does show promise. This promise comes from two forces: the obvious lack of a standard and the three big tech companies now supporting CHIP, namely Amazon, Google, and Apple. When market behemoths get on the same page, markets tend to move rapidly and broadly.

Don’t Confuse Early Adopters with Mainstream Consumers

Another interesting perspective on the smart home market and CHIP came from Stuart Cheshire, distinguished engineer, scientist, and technologist at Apple. Cheshire said current smart home adopters are mostly people who like DIY projects and tinkering with technology, but adoption among mainstream consumers has not reached expectations. But if CHIP does succeed it will become the baseline for new home construction going forward, since home builders need to think in terms of technology that lasts for decades, according to Cheshire. In his view, success for CHIP in 5 to 10 years will be the inability to find a home builder who is not installing CHIP as a basic component, similar to all homes now having electrical switches manufactured to a common standard. 

Milestones for the CHIP standard have changed little since the project was first announced, even in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak:

  • A CHIP specification is expected to be ready by the end of 2020 or perhaps early 2021
  • Products based on CHIP are expected to be available sometime in 2021
Keep an Eye on Standardization Efforts

No big new takeaways emerged from this webinar, other than that key stakeholders still have CHIP on their roadmaps. My recommendation for vendors in this space (and for home builders) is to keep an eye on CHIP. There is great potential for success given the companies backing it. However, there are other smart home and IoT standards under development, which can muddle the market. And some skepticism is in order since standardization efforts occasionally falter.