Thread partners with Zigbee to open up smart home

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IoT consortium Thread Group is working with the ZigBee Alliance to widen the amount of wireless products that can be used in the smart home.

By enabling the ZigBee Cluster Library to run over its networks, Thread said it was hopeful it could improve the development of smart home products. The Cluster Library standardises functionality at app level for different devices that can run in the smart home.

Thread launched last summer and includes ARM, Google and Samsung among its founding members. It was set up to try and solve issues with interoperability and reliability of products in the smart home sector.

The consortium's own wireless networking protocol uses the likes of IPv6 technology 6LoWPAN and standard 802.15.4 radios to support numerous low-bandwidth, IP-based application protocols and secure and low-powered networks.

Chris Boross, President of the Thread Group and Technical Product Marketing Manager at Nest, said: “By agreeing to work together, ZigBee and Thread are taking a big step towards reducing fragmentation in the industry. Thread is designed to work with and support many different application layer protocols, and we look forward to working with ZigBee to create a combined solution for the connected home.”

Tobin Richardson, president and CEO of the ZigBee Alliance, added: “Application level standardisation is necessary to provide truly interoperable products to consumers. We believe this agreement will deliver value to product developers searching for another solution for connectivity in the smart home.”

Last autumn, Gartner warned gateways will become increasingly important to manage the variety of different smart home technology. It said a contemporary smart home would have up to 500 products connected by 2020.

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