During the Apple WWDC conference last week there was a part of the Keynote where HomeKit was discussed and there was news that Apple is working with partners on better standards for integration and interoperability - on one of the slides SmartThings was shown as one such partner. Does anyone have any more information on that?
That was a slide about project Chip, as @prjct92eh2 just mentioned. It’s not promising future HomeKit integration. It’s a set of standards for Wi-Fi which would allow Wi-Fi iot devices to identify themselves basically using the same structure that Zigbee uses (which is why you see so many zigbee manufacturers on that slide: the zigbee alliance is an official partner). So a device could say “I am a light switch, I turn on and off.“ Or “I am a dimmer switch, I support multi level requests.“
The idea is to allow multiple home automation systems to recognize multiple different WiFi devices for basic functionality. But to work with HomeKit, those devices would also have to be separately homekit certified.
So it’s Apple and smartthings and google and a bunch of other companies working together to come up with a Home Automation standard for Wi-Fi devices. But it’s very early days yet and it doesn’t promise HomeKit integration for any of those devices.
Apple also released some of their HomeKit software as free open source code. However it sounds like Apple will still require manufacturers to apply for official HomeKit certification.
Overall it sounds like it will potentially lead to greater standardisation, potentially better security but it does not sound like it will lead to much improvement in the quantity of HomeKit compatible products.
So potentially thanks to this manufacturers like Samsung could make their WiFi or Bluetooth products HomeKit compatible much easier since they can use open source code to build prototypes and test, but to get officially certified they would still need to submit to Apple for testing. It would not allow all devices connected to a Smartthings Hub to be made available to HomeKit like HomeBridge does.
There is still the danger that at some point in the future Apple will deliberately kill solutions like HomeBridge. Indeed based on past Apple behaviour I still feel this is eventually inevitable.
(It was already the case that in general HomeKit can now be achieved purely via software without needing the former special MFI chip.)