The Thread Group has been established to drive uptake of a wireless mesh standard for connecting devices within homes, with members including Samsung, ARM and Nest Labs, the smart meter company recently acquired for $3.2 billion by Google.
Thread is an IPv6 networking protocol “built on open standards, designed for low-power 802.15.4 mesh networks”, rather than an application protocol or connectivity platform seen with other IoT approaches.
This means existing application protocols and Internet of Things (IoT) platforms will run over Thread networks, a version of which is already being used in Nest products.
While 802.15.4 networking technologies have their advantages, they also have “critical issues that prevent the promise of the Internet of Things from being realised”, according to the group.
These include a lack of interoperability, inability to carry IPv6 communications, high power requirements and ‘hub and spoke’ models that are dependent on a single device.
“Existing wireless networking approaches were introduced long before the Internet of Things gained ground. The Thread protocol takes existing technologies and combines the best parts of each to provide a better way to connect products in the home,” said Vint Cerf, VP and chief internet evangelist for Google and advisor to the Thread Group.
The group touted Thread’s benefits for developers over existing wireless standards. These include reliability (due to the ‘self-healing’ properties of mesh networks), secure networks with banking-class encryption, simple connectivity and low power usage.
Freescale Semiconductor, Yale Security, Silicon Labs and industrial fan maker Big Ass Fans are also involved.
The Open Interconnect Consortium (OIC) aims to deliver a specification, an open source implementation and a certification programme for wirelessly connecting devices regardless of form factor, operating system or service provider.
The AllSeen Alliance is pushing for the AllJoyn open standard for connected devices and recently welcomed Microsoft to its ranks.