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Things seem to be heating up in the battle to bring the Internet of Things to fruition. The latest such entry into this market may just be the game changer we've been looking for to start bringing all these different systems together. We've seen plenty of other attempts at standardizing communication in our homes - but they've all gone their own way trying to create the "best" - and instead it seems we've ended up with too many choices. The Thread Group hopes to change this. Cue the old xkcd.com comic:
What makes this different is the list of backers this time around. The founding group consists of ARM, Big Ass Fans, Freescale Semiconductor, Nest Labs, Inc, Samsung, Silicon Labs and Yale Security. New members should getting accepted Q3 2014). This is a not-for-profit group that's centered around working with developers and consumers and creating a certification program for their new mesh networking technology.
I'm not 100% up to speed yet, but the idea is that a new protocol called Thread is being developed as a new mesh networking protocol based on 802.15.4. This means that, in theory, existing devices which use ZigBee / 6LoWPAN and possibly others will be able to migrate to Thread with just a firmware update. In fact, Nest thermostats are now shipping with a version of Thread running on them.
This new protocol shows promise, as it's designed from the ground up to be a self-healing network that's secure, scalable, and still easy on batteries making it work for portable devices. It's intended to bring together appliances, access control, climate control, energy management, lighting, safety, and security - and it's designed specifically for the home. Up to 250 devices are supported on a single network and can handle multiple hops (may be too few devices for some of us). Setup looks like it'll eliminate the need for a lot of technical knowledge, as it seem like you'll be able to enroll devices with just your smartphone by entering in or scanning a product code on the packaging. This will help open the doors to households everywhere, leaving the biggest remaining hurdle likely to be getting the electrical components switched out (switches, outlets) and possibly wiring up the new thermostat; everything else seems like it'll enroll in seconds.
I'm certainly intrigued; I think this will be the biggest jump-start the IoT needs to finally start bringing the masses together so we can finally start seeing the world where all of our appliances and fixtures in the home communicate and work together to keep us informed and help reduce our energy costs by allowing everything in the home to work together. Of course this likely will bring with it yet another dependance on "The cloud" - but being a single standard, hopefully there'll be options for the edge routers to keep things closed within our own homes as well.
Thoughts? Comment below!
- Jul 17 2014 12:04 AM
- by Work2Play