Project Connected Home over IP (Project CHIP) at Forum Smart Home

Last month Tobin Richardson, President & CEO, had the opportunity to discuss the Alliance and Project CHIP during the Forum Smart Home 2021 held in Zurich, Switzerland. Attendees included smart home stakeholders ranging from electrical installers, planners and development engineers to startups, investors, builders and general contractors. Speakers focused on who and what is driving the smart home, and pathways to the future.  

It’s no secret the IoT is complex. Getting ‘things’ around us to connect to networks and interoperate with one another is part of the puzzle. But a deeper layer of complexity involves the coming together and facilitating agreement among the many companies behind those products and ecosystems.

Over these many years, there’s been steadfast, avid interest in creating better IoT experiences for all. The Zigbee Alliance has brought hundreds of market-movers and innovators of all sizes together, cooperating to solve this challenge, most recently through Project CHIP. The Alliance continues to attract players interested in up-leveling the IoT so developers, manufacturers, retailers and consumers all benefit through open global standards.

Aggressive Progress, Unwavering Support

During the event, Tobin touched on the topic of complexity, which also applies to rolling out standards. He shared a bit about how things work behind the scenes at a standards organization, as the Alliance and its members build new specifications. From the outside looking in, it can be challenging to truly appreciate (and have patience around) the input, fine-tuning and testing that must happen before a specification is released and the extensive effort required to see it realized as part of the digital fabric within homes and buildings.

As for the Alliance and Project CHIP, our members are working hard. Heads are down and all hands are on-deck. Right now, we’re working to complete and secure member approval for the first internal pre-release. From there, the Alliance and members begin work on test specifications to start the process of building and validating test scripts. After additional updates, we’ll complete a second pre-release and begin formal Alliance “test events”, which will last several months as all is thoroughly tested using code aligned to this pre-release spec. As Tobin said to the Forum Smart Home attendees – it’s a process. The final specification for Project CHIP will be available for organizations to leverage in an unprecedented timeframe, despite COVID and the impacts of virtual work environments spanning the globe.

There has never been this level of cooperation on a technology project that has the potential to impact and improve daily living. We have the biggest names in tech and a diverse set of mid-sized and small companies from across the value chain all at the same table, contributing and committed to success.  

While this work is underway, the Alliance welcomes new members every day and continues to invite others to join. We encourage everyone to include this new global standard in their corporate conversations and product roadmaps. We’re confident Project CHIP will leave an indelible mark on the progress and growth of the IoT.