This announcement certainly peaked our interest too!
If this new alliance is able to achieve their stated aims, it would seem to be a significant and positive development for interoperability in the smart home. It’s also encouraging to see that this news has pushed the Z-Wave Alliance to announce opening up their own protocol earlier than planned.
As I understand it, what the Connected Home over IP (CHIP) alliance intend to do is to take parts of Apple HomeKit, Google Weave and DotDot (from Zigbee) and create a single unified royalty-free application layer protocol which will run over Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Thread networks using using IPv6.
They plan to have the initial specification and Apache2 licensed reference implementation ready in late 2020, so I wouldn’t expect to see the first products certified for this new protocol until at least 2021.
You won’t have seen Mozilla’s name on the list of participants because we weren’t invited to take part in the initial launch, but we have expressed an interest in finding out more information and have been in communication with existing members.
In the short term this news doesn’t make much difference to Mozilla WebThings in that people will continue to use their existing Zigbee, Z-Wave and HomeKit smart home products (and the many other protocols!) for the foreseeable future.
In the medium term it may mean that users need fewer adapter add-ons to add all their smart home devices to the WebThings Gateway as new devices converge on this new protocol.
In the long term we will need to evaluate in detail how this new protocol complements or competes with the Web of Things and what that means for our long term strategy of being a trusted personal agent for the connected home.
In the meantime, Web of Things standardisation will continue with a new Working Group Charter starting in the new year. As will other efforts like the one run by the Open Connectivity Foundation. I hope that eventually these efforts will converge into a smaller set of standards in the smart home space.
As well as the issue of interoperability, we will also continue to advocate for privacy and security in the connected home, which can be as much in the implementation of the standards as in the standards themselves.
In conclusion, this press release sounds like a very positive development! It will be challenging for this new alliance to mash all those existing protocols into a single unified protocol and I imagine there will be a lot of politics involved and quite a while yet until we see the first products. So we’re waiting to see what comes of it, and will contribute where appropriate.
P.S. I read Stacey on IoT too, she’s great!