Project CHIP - Full Steam Ahead


A lot has happened since the announcement of Project Connected Home over IP (Project CHIP) back in December.  In fact, just a short while ago (before the worldwide WFH mandate) the major players in the project had the first face-to-face meeting on Project CHIP in Austin, Texas (and likely one of the last F2F for quite some time).

We’ll get to the major takeaways from that meeting in a minute. But first we’d like to highlight the fact that despite the current global crisis, there is still a steady stream of ongoing effort taking place. A growing team of dedicated individuals from contributing companies all over the world are continuing the development of this important initiative, virtually.

Meetings are taking place almost everyday, action items are being assigned/completed, and we’re pushing the agenda forward, COVID-19 be damned.


Now, here are our Top 5 takeaways from that first face-to-face meeting.


1. Speed, security, and accuracy are top priorities.

The timeline for the development of CHIP is aggressive by any standard measure. This is mainly due to the creators recognizing and prioritizing the need to ensure continuity in product roadmaps. We can’t create a large block of time where product manufacturers are developing solutions, while at the same time waiting for a new spec to emerge that could have an impact on them.

The acknowledgment of urgency is highlighted by the amount of resources that each participating company is willing to expend to get this initiative on track, hit those aggressive deadlines, and to do it securely. There aren’t any official numbers, but we can safely say that there are countless new faces/names that show up at virtually every single meeting.

Not unlike the industry heavy hitters like Google, Apple, Amazon, and Samsung – our own team is devoting a significant amount of time and resources to help the project to get to the finish line.

These tight timelines make for a ton of challenging work. But, we’re happy to report that this work has begun and progress is already being made.


2. There was a ton of excitement and engagement.

We noticed a ton of new faces and even some familiar ones we haven’t seen in a long time in this first face-to-face meeting post CES. We’ve been at the forefront of standards development for over a decade and we were pleased to repeatedly see standing room only sessions in Austin. This excitement came as no surprise – Project CHIP was the dominant subject matter in most of our conversations at CES 2020.


3. Commercial interest in CHIP is strong.

Notwithstanding the word “Home” is directly in the Project name, there was a ton of interest from the Commercial players in the IoT about how Project CHIP could be an important tool for the Commercial market.

The mandate for this first part of Project CHIP is clearly focused on the smart home, but it is safe to say that the aggressive timelines for the deployment into consumer markets will very soon be followed by Commercial.

To understand a little more about how Project CHIP can be applied to the Commercial market – check out this article from our friends at the Thread Group.


4. No one wants to compete by way of radio technology anymore.

It has been clear to us at MMB Networks for the past few years that the prospect of product manufacturers and ecosystem providers competing on which RF technology they chose to adopt for their solutions wasn’t scalable.

It caused cringeworthy fragmentation and poor user experiences when consumers started placing multiple devices from numerous vendors into a singular home environment. Project CHIP is poised to tackle this fragmentation head on, and we couldn’t be more excited that the industry has finally come together to fix this very important problem in the industry.

The major contributors to this Project have made it clear how they intend to compete with each other. They’ll focus on developing market dominance through the applications and features of the products and/or ecosystems they build – not on the technology that connects those devices and ecosystems to the internet.


5. The focus is on the end user

Project CHIP is fundamentally focused on ensuring a positive experience for the end user. Yes, by doing so the product manufacturers and ecosystem providers benefit, but the core motivation behind the entire Project is to improve the overall experience and increase adoption rates of IoT devices/solutions.

This was evident in the well attended marketing breakout sessions that saw healthy discussion and debate over the branding and naming of the initiative. This confirms for us that overall, the group of companies taking on this challenge are striving to ensure that we maintain a clear vision of Project CHIP with consumers in mind.

As the focus for major product manufacturers shifts from the mechanics of connectivity and more towards perfecting their product offering and experiences, everybody wins.

Product manufacturers can spend less time considering which RF technologies to deploy to effectively reach the market, and devote more time to product innovation.

At the same time, consumers can simply walk into a store and buy a connected device with confidence that it will actually work when they get it home.


Stay Tuned

We’ll be putting out a regular cadence of general updates on Project CHIP as the information becomes publicly available. Fill out the form below to stay up to date on everything related to Project CHIP and other useful insights about the IoT industry from the team at MMB Networks. In the meantime – stay safe, wash your hands, and don’t touch your face!


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