A group of companies, including Google’s Nest and Samsung, has agreed to form a nonprofit called the Thread Group to develop a new wireless standard for the Internet of Things.
The Internet of Things is the term used to describe the idea of having all electronic devices and appliances at home or in the office connected through the internet. IDC expects the Internet of Things to grow into an $8.9 trillion market by 2020.
The Thread Group said its goal is to develop Thread, a new IP-based wireless networking protocol, which will enable devices to connect into a more open, secure, and low-power wireless mesh network.
Since it uses IPv6 technology and 6LowPAN as its foundation, existing application protocols and platforms can run over Thread networks, the group said. Google’s Nest, for example, already uses a version of Thread to connect its thermostats and smoke and carbon-monoxide alarm products.
Currently, there are multiple network protocols and standards on the market, such as Z-Wave and Zigbee IP, but they all have different standards, making it difficult to connect devices. In particular, the lack of interoperability, inability to carry IPv6 communications, and high-power requirements have slowed the development of Internet of Things so far, the group said. Thread is expected to solve these issues.
“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,” Lisa Arrowsmith, associate director of connectivity, smart homes and smart cities at IHS Technology, said in a statement.
Vint Cerf, the vice president and chief Internet evangelist at Google, who’s also an adviser to the Thread Group, said, “The Thread protocol takes existing technologies and combines the best parts of each to provide a better way to connect products in the home.”
Other founding members of the Thread Group include ARM, Freescale, Big Arse Fans, Silicon Labs, and Yale Security. The group plans to start accepting new member applications starting later this year.