Apple, Amazon, Google & Others want to create a universal smart home standard (Matter - formerly Project CHIP)
I guess Zwave is getting kicked to the curb.
Z-Wave requires a licences fee. Apple at least certainly isn’t big on paying those.
The working group calls it “Project CHIP.”
SmartThings is also involved in this project (they’re on the Zigbee Alliance board). So is Ikea, who very recently joined the Zigbee Alliance. Signify is Philips Hue, btw.
some interesting comments from the official site: (emphasis added by me)
Project Connected Home over IP is a new Working Group that plans to develop and promote the adoption of a new, royalty-free connectivity standard to increase compatibility among smart home products, with security as a fundamental design tenet.
Amazon, Apple, Google, and the Zigbee Alliance joined together to promote the formation of the Working Group. Zigbee Alliance board member companies IKEA, Legrand, NXP Semiconductors, Resideo, Samsung SmartThings, Schneider Electric, Signify (formerly Philips Lighting), Silicon Labs, Somfy, and Wulian are also on board to join the Working Group and contribute to the project.
The industry Working Group will take an open-source approach for the development and implementation of a new, unified connectivity protocol. The project intends to use contributions from market-tested smart home technologies from Amazon, Apple, Google, Zigbee Alliance, and others.
(remember how I’ve often said SmartThings doesn’t have patents? That’s why they’re not listed in this previous statement.)
The planned protocol will complement existing technologies, and Working Group members encourage device manufacturers to continue innovating using technologies available today.
My guess is this statement was a requirement from the Zigbee Alliance.
- Technical stuff. And if this sounds exactly like what HomeKit uses (minus Thread), you’ve been reading engineering feeds again.
The goal of the first specification release will be Wi-Fi, up to and including 802.11ax (aka Wi-Fi 6), that is 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax; Thread over 802.15.4-2006 at 2.4 GHz; and IP implementations for Bluetooth Low Energy, versions 4.1, 4.2, and 5.0 for the network and physical wireless protocols.
The Project Connected Home over IP Working Group will likely also embrace other IP-bearing technologies like Ethernet, Cellular, Broadband, and others.
Some companies might focus their product offerings on the protocol over Wi-Fi/Ethernet, while others might target the protocol over Thread or BLE, and still others might support a combination. Please contact individual companies to find out what their intentions are for future product support.
Will my current smart home products still continue to work as they do today?
Yes. Amazon, Apple, and Google are committed to continue support for consumers and their existing products.
What are the market-tested smart home technologies being contributed?
The Project intends to leverage development work and protocols from existing systems such as:
- Amazon’s Alexa Smart Home
- Apple’s HomeKit
- Google’s Weave
- Zigbee Alliance’s Dotdot data models
Will the Project attempt to standardize smart home user interfaces?
No. The Working Group at this time does not intend to standardize smart home user interfaces such as voice assistants, smart displays, or desktop and mobile apps.
And I’ll bet that was an Apple requirement.
BTW, if you don’t spend a lot of time reading engineering feeds: this is in part a move to enable (but not require) more local processing. The integration can go through WiFi without going through a cloud unless the manufacturer has other reasons for wanting a cloud (like voice processing). This is exactly how HomeKit works: no cloud required except for Siri.
I’ll set a reminder to check in on this in 5 years
That is pretty big news. I don’t see GE or Jasco on there anywhere. Still, when you have Google, Amazon, and Apple - plus Hue, you’re pretty much covering about 95%+ of the most deployed smart products today.
Not sure about that: remember all the people (literally millions) Paying monthly fees for security plus home automation from companies like Xfinity home, ADT, Time Warner, etc. That’s a large group. But these days they do overlap a lot with the voice assistants, as do the other device manufacturers.
I’m betting it’s sooner, and based on zigbee 3.0. I’d say 3 years.
If I read this correctly, all they want is to standardize common commands. That is, create a home automation profile for WiFi. So “23” means “turn on” to all WiFi switches using the profile. Maybe also using Apple’s “secure WiFi” to reduce hackability.
I think I’m going to win my 3 year bet: Apple is open sourcing some of the HomeKit accessory code as part of Project CHIP.
Apple says it will contribute its HomeKit Accessory Protocol to the new consortium, and noted that anyone planning to sell HomeKit-compatible accessories must use the commercial version of the kit supplied by the Apple MFi program. The company also confirmed that existing HomeKit accessories will remain compatible with the new protocol when it’s eventually released.
@JDRoberts what do you make of the z-wave news?
Opening up the manufacturing side to try and stay relevant with the IP standard news from yesterday?
I think it’s intended to look like that. The following is a very good article:
But speaking just for myself as an industry cynic, I think it’s a last ditch effort on the part of silicon labs to see if Zwave can float on its own once SL stops funding it at the same level. I think it’s also a not-so-subtle statement to Amazon that if they want to keep using Z wave for the ring security system, They need to step up and bring in some marketshare.
So basically I think this either succeeds in the next two or three years or Z wave fades away. Either way, SL gets out from under any negative reputational blowback. Like the article says, they just want to sell radios, they don’t really care which ones.
What I’m going to be watching for next is whether we see a strong statement of support from either ring or Amazon for the Z wave initiative.
Z-Wave Alliance is a global membership organization dedicated to advancing the Z-Wave wireless smart home protocol. Vivint joins existing Alliance board of directors members ADT, Alarm.com, ASSA ABLOY, Ingersoll Rand Nexia Intelligence, Jasco Products, Leedarson, LG Uplus, Nortek Security & Control, Ring, Silicon Labs, Vivint, and Samsung subsidiary SmartThings.
The following is not a good article, But it does confirm that SL is telling journalists today that the decision to make Z wave open source had been planned as a CES announcement well before the project chip news: the only thing that changed was the date of the Z wave announcement.
Ack! Z-Wave fading away would mean I’d have to replace all those switches I installed. I know tech doesn’t last forever, but such a pain to install those all not to mention the cost. I guess the upside is hopefully the next wave I have to install doesn’t have quite as gigantic a switch box to contend with. Spent quite a lot of time wrestling with trying to get these over sized switches into tight boxes.
Yeah that’s a good point. Still the big three (+1) have a lot of production out there in the world.
Always the optimist.
On the one hand this CHIP agreement is intended to increase compatibility between the big three and for example Zigbee products with the implication that this will dramatically increase the number of HomeKit compatible products, and then there is the above statement attributed to Apple which implies Apple are still restricting what can be HomeKit compatible.
PS. I have always been surprised by how many companies use Z-Wave, with Z-Wave requiring different versions for different regions in the world it seems like it would not be as attractive as using Zigbee which uses a single global standard, this is of course on top of the licensing issues.
No in the short term. You would still have those devices within your ST hub but they would not be supported with this new tech. They will work as long as ST is around. You would have, like all of us, likely start to transition over to these new devices.
I also prefer Z-Wave for most of my hardwired devices since it is off the clogged 2.4 GHz band.
Even with newer WiFi tech, it seems absurd to try to put every IoT device on infrastructure WiFi or other protocols (BT, Zigbee) competing in the same airspace.
Zigbee has opened some other frequencies. Three are becoming more popular in Europe.
These are regional for the same reason that Zwave is: to avoid conflicting with local first responder and mobile frequencies, which themselves vary by region.