ARM, Nest, and Samsung form Thread Group to build IoT networks

Jul 15, 2014
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ARM, Nest, and Samsung form Thread Group to build IoT networks

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the thing that everyone seems to want to talk about. But before it becomes a real thing, it seems that it will be thing that creates groups and consortia and all sorts of seen and unseen alliances. Just a week after the Open Interconnect Consortium (OIC) was born, a new fellowship called the Thread Group is rising up around the same IoT vision, but this time with a slightly different focus and slightly different members.

The OIC was more focused on making sure that member companies' products play nice with each other by creating specifications, reference implementations, and certifications that members must abide by in order to remain in the club. In contrast, the Thread Group's mission is to make such a goal possible, but on an even more and deeper technical level, by defining the way these devices will actually connect with each other. In other words, the Thread Group will be developing a new IP-based wireless networking protocol named, unsurprisingly, Thread.

Thread builds on existing networking standards like IEEE 802.15.4, but also tries to correct their flaws. While 802.15.4 was designed for low-cost, low-speed connections between nearby devices, it was also designed at a time when IoT was the stuff of science fiction. It required high power consumption, didn't support the growing IPv6 protocol, and relied on a centralized hub and spoke networking model that had a single point of failure. In contrast, Thread will utilize a wireless mesh network, which lets each node communicate with every other node by jumping around, also enabling any of them to have access to the Internet. Thread will also have provisions for connecting not just dozens but even hundreds of low-powered IoT devices in a single mesh.

As with the OIC, the founding roster fo the Thread Group is also interesting to note. Samsung is once more present, but this time ARM Holdings, which designs but doesn't manufacture processors, is there instead of Intel. Nest Labs is also included, which means Google is not far behind. In fact, the group claims that a version of Thread is actually being used by Nest already. Freescale Semiconductor, makers of embedded hardware, Yale Security, Silicon Labs, and Big Ass Fans (yes, that's a legit company) completes the current membership list.

SOURCE: Thread Group


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