(Pocket-lint) - Smart home products with Project CHIP certification could launch before the end of 2021.
The partnership was first announced in 2019, involving the likes of Apple, Amazon, Google, the Zigbee Alliance and over 170 other companies, with the aim of developing a more interoperable smart home.
In theory, by allowing Apple HomeKit, Google Weave, Zigbee Dotdot and Amazon's Alexa Smart Home to join forces, it's thought it'll be easier for manufacturers to develop devices that work across all ecosystems.
Now, after delays due to the coronavirus pandemic, a webinar hosted by the Zigbee Alliance suggests that Project CHIP - which stands for 'Connected Home over IP' - certification could be given to smart home devices as early as Q4 2021. However, the specific details regarding the certification process - such as how many platforms a CHIP-certified device will have to support - aren't yet known.
According to The Verge, the first string of devices harnessing the new technology will be lighting, blinds, TVs, door locks, security systems, Wi-Fi routers and HVAC controls.
So, what are the actual benefits of Project CHIP?
Well, as well as this all being friendly to the companies making these smart home devices, it should be highly beneficial to device owners. With CHIP certification, users can use Bluetooth LE for setting things up, as well as Wi-Fi and Thread for day-to-day connectivity. Thread is an emerging wireless standard in the smart home, currently featuring inside a small but significant number of newer devices, such as the Google Nest Hub and the Apple HomePod mini.
It may not just be new devices that gain certification and the benefits, either. Through bridges, it's suggested that older smart home products could also gain CHIP approval.
All in all, it's an intriguing step for Project CHIP.
And while the aim is to eventually supersede standards such as Zigbee and Z-Wave - which currently join together devices based on which voice assistant they work with - it's important to remember that there's also no guarantee it'll gain the momentum required to become the ubiquitous solution to the smart home's problems.
For now, we'll just have to wait for more details emerge.