Google’s smart home company Nest has joined forces with Samsung and others for form a new Internet of Things group aiming to set industry standards for connected devices.
Called Thread, the non-profit group also counts ARM, Freescale, Big Ass Fans, Silicon Labs, and Yale Security amongst its members.
Thread is a networking protocol with security and low-power features that make it more suitable for connecting household device than others, such as Wifi, NFC, Bluetooth or ZigBee, said Chris Boross, a Nest product manager who heads the new group. Nest’s products already use a version of Thread, he said.
The radio chips used for Thread-compatible smart devices are already in many existing connected home products that use ZigBee, like Philips Hue smart light bulbs.
Those Zigbee devices could potentially be updated with software from their manufacturers to work with Thread after a product certification program starts next year, Boross said.
“Around that time I imagine that Thread-compliant products will start hitting the market, but people can start building Thread today,” he said.
Thread joins a number of other groups trying to streamline and improve the very large idea of the Internet of Things.
The group was founded about a week after a separate IOT organization, Open Interconnect Consortium, was unveiled with Intel and Samsung’s backing.
A third group, AllSeen Alliance, was established in December with the support of Qualcomm.
Google and Apple also have discussed efforts in connecting devices together.
The Thread protocol is already available in products from Nest, which makes a connected thermostat, and smoke and carbon-monoxide alarm.”It’s seen real uses and is performing extremely well,” said Nest’s Chris Boross, who became Thread’s president.
The group said it plans to begin accepting additional membership applications later this year and start offering certification for devices in 2015.