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Google, Samsung, ARM and Big Ass Fans join brains to crack Internet of Things riddle

James Temperton
15 Jul 2014
Thread
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New Thread technology can connect 250 Internet of Things devices together in a low-power, secure network

Seven technology giants have joined cosmic forces, creating an alliance that will work on a new IP-based wireless networking protocol. The Thread Group, which counts Samsung, ARM and Google-owned Nest as three its members, hopes to finally see the internet of things dream realised in homes across the world.

The technology has been designed for quick implementation with existing connected devices, with no hardware upgrades required. It will allow for an array of things to be controlled from smartphone and tablet apps under one, centralised standard.

The so-called internet of things has been mooted for some time, but progress has been slow with conflicting standards and technologies causing headaches. It is hoped that Thread will soon be linking together vast networks of light bulbs, locks, alarms, air-conditioners and more to propel our homes into the future.

Other members of the Thread alliance include Big Ass Fans, Freescale Semiconductor, Silicon Labs and Yale Security.

Internet granddaddy Vint Cerf, one of the men credited with the creation of protocols that created the network, said that existing wireless technologies were inadequate for the connected homes of the near future.

Cerf, who is now chief internet evangelist at Google and an advisor to the Thread Group was unsurprisingly enthusiastic about the technology:

"Existing wireless networking approaches were introduced long before the Internet of Things gained ground. The Thread protocol takes existing technologies and combines the best parts of each to provide a better way to connect products in the home."

Existing technologies such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth have so far proved unsuitable for creating low-power mesh networks to connect disparate things in and around the home. ZigBee, a wireless protocol used in Philips Hue lightbulbs, has also struggled to make any impact.

Thread's developers claim it can connect up to 250 devices into a low-power mesh network that includes direct access to the internet and cloud services for every device. It is claimed that Thread will offer a reliable, secure and simple way to connect internet of things devices in the connected home.

The missing link in all the internet of things developments so far is Apple. It had been speculated that the company would reveal its Smart Home plans at its Worldwide Developer Conference earlier this year, but the rumoured technology failed to make an appearance.

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