Thread: A New Wireless Networking Protocol for the Home
‘Thread’ is a new IP-based wireless networking protocol for the smart home. Nest and Samsung are Thread Group founding members along with Yale Security, Silicon Labs, Freescale Semiconductor, Big Ass Fans and ARM.
Thread’s de-centralised approach means no single point of failure and “banking-class encryption” is promised for security. The non-profit group also promises Thread devices will be simple to install and says a version of Thread is already being used to power Nest products today. Consumers will be able to securely connect more than 250 Thread devices in the home to each other and to the cloud for access and control from anywhere.
“A number of networking solutions and platforms have been introduced to address the growing demand for connected products in the home,” said Lisa Arrowsmith, associate director, connectivity, smart homes and smart cities, IHS Technology. “Built on well-proven standards, including IEEE 802.15.4, IETF IPv6 and 6LoWPAN, Thread represents a resilient, IP-based solution for the rapidly growing Internet of Things.”
Not Just Another Standard - Unlike many existing technologies or IoT approaches, Thread is not an application protocol or a connectivity platform for many types of disparate networks. Thread is an IPv6 networking protocol built on open standards, designed for low-power 802.15.4 mesh networks. Existing popular application protocols and IoT platforms can run over Thread networks.
Millions of existing 802.15.4 wireless devices already on the market can run Thread with just a software enhancement — no new hardware required. Thread is designed for quick implementation and deployment of devices throughout the home.
Thread promise “rigorous product certification” to ensure approved appliances, access controls, climate / energy management, thermostats, lighting controllers and security systems will all be easy to install and operate by the user. The group are currently developing their product certification program which is expect to be available in the fist half of 2015, so it’s going to be some time before hardware starts to appear.
We are keen to see a new discovery and control standard appear for the smart home. There are already other contenders like the Allseen Alliance and the smart home standard landscape is beginning to mirror the crowd founded hardware scene with a new offering coming along seemingly each month. Which one, if any, will emerge as the winner?