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Thread Protocol Targets Internet of Things for the Connected Home

July 22, 2015 By Molly White in

The Internet of Things could get a boost from a new protocol recently released by The Thread Group. The protocol, also named Thread, is based in part on IPv6 and 6LoWPAN, is intended for use by group members and others aiming to develop low-power connected products for smart homes.

ARM, Nest and Samsung launched the Thread Group a year ago. The group intends to launch a product certification program this September.

Thread-compliant chips and software stacks will be available from ARM, Freescale and Silicon Labs, with the first certified products expected late this year.

Members and non-members can access the low-power networking protocol’s technical white papers and learn more on a group Web page.

According to Thread Group, millions of existing 802.15.4 wireless devices already on the market can run Thread with just a software enhancement.

Thread Group gives the following as examples of how its protocol offers advantages over low-power operating systems already out in the market:

  • Reliable networks: Thread offers robust self-healing mesh networks that scale to hundreds of devices with no single point of failure. Devices are ready when people need them.
  • Secure networks: Thread networks feature secure, banking-class encryption. Thread closes identified security holes found in other wireless protocols and provides worry-free operation.
  • Simple connectivity: Thread devices are simple to install with a smartphone, tablet or computer. Consumers can securely connect Thread devices in the home to each other and to the cloud for easy control and access from anywhere.
  • Low power: Thread supports battery-operated devices as part of a home network. This allows the devices that people use every day – including thermostats, lighting controls, safety and security products – to be a part of the network without requiring constant charging or frequent battery changes.

“Thread was designed to be the foundation of the Internet of Things in the home by allowing developers and consumers to easily and securely connect hundreds of devices within a low-power, wireless mesh network,” Thread Group president Chris Boross explained in a press release.

Thread Group also announced that Qualcomm is joining the organization’s board of directors. The company’s Qualcomm Technologies has developed a framework for interoperable connectivity and communications of low-power communications devices, the group notes.

Qualcomm views specific purpose-driven industry associations such as Thread Group as essential to developing the technological and economic ecosystem that building new markets requires.

“When it comes to easily and securely connecting the smart home, the work of industry alliances like the Thread Group [is] essential,” Qualcomm Technologies’ SVP, product management Raj Talluri stated. “Collaborating with the Thread Group allows for the integration of this technology into the world’s leading brands of household appliances, and to thereby speed innovation and market transformation.”