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Samsung, ARM and Google's Nest join forces to create IoT standard

Aims to help the Internet of Things 'realise its potential for years to come'
Tue Jul 15 2014, 10:51

Thread LogoSAMSUNG, ARM AND GOOGLE'S NEST have joined forces to create a home automation network protocol called Thread, which looks to help the Internet of Things (IoT) "realise its potential for years to come".

The industry group aims to conceive a standard for devices to communicate on a network while also encouraging makers of cameras, appliances, locks, lightbulbs and other devices in homes to make them talk to one other more easily.

"It's hard to get multiple devices to talk to one another. And until now, no one has been able to do it well," explains the About page of the Thread website.

"That's why we designed Thread. We wanted to build a technology that uses and combines the best of what's out there and create a networking protocol that can help the Internet of Things realise its potential for years to come."

The Thread group explains that it was born out of three key problems: that today's technology is difficult and confusing to set up; it relies on a single device to communicate with products around the home - so if that device fails, the whole network goes down; and, to stay connected 24/7, devices end up draining battery life quickly.

Thread will therefore be built up of the following guidelines: Simple for consumers to use; always secure; power-efficient; an open protocol that carries IPv6 natively; based on a robust mesh network with no single point of failure; runs over standard 802.15.4 radios; and designed to support a wide variety of products for the home. This includes appliances, access control, climate control, energy management, lighting, safety, and security, the group said.

The initiative follows other recent attempts from other big technology players including Qualcomm and Microsoft to join a group in lobbying for an IoT standard.

The Allseen Alliance, founded by Qualcomm, is pushing for the adoption of the open source AllJoyn protocol, which was designed, unsurprisingly, by Qualcomm, it emerged earlier this month.

Microsoft has joined the 50 strong consortium including Panasonic, LG and Sharp to ensure that everything from thermostats to thermal imaging cameras to thighmasters are able to talk to one another across the connected home.

Last month, a group of 40 technology firms including Intel, ARM, IBM and BT, also announced that they have developed an IoT specification called Hypercat to spur the growth of internet-connected devices in the UK.

The project has seen funding of £6.4m from the government's Technology Strategy Board and the group said that it hopes Hypercat can encourage an open standards based IoT that will enable sensors and devices to share information more easily and reduce the need for human intervention. µ


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