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Thread launches smart home product certification effort

Freescale aims to be among the first tech players to get its software stack certified for Thread, a mesh network designed for the smart home.

The Thread Group, a consortium that aims to develop a mesh network to better connect smart home devices, has launched its product certification program with Freescale launching a pre-certified software stack.

Freescale, which makes a variety of controllers, sensors and processors that play into the Internet of things, said its stack of software is moving through Thread's certification program.

Thread is a group that was put together in July 2014 to make smart home devices communicate without draining too much power. Freescale is part of Thread and working to certify its product on the effort. Thread released its specifications in July and products based on the networking system are expected to land in the first half of 2016.

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As noted previously, integration issues are likely to arise as the connected home becomes the norm. Some companies like Best Buy are aiming to be service providers as appliances and various home functions--lighting, alarm systems and the like--will be connected.

Thread is a large group that includes appliance manufacturers such as Samsung and LG as well as consumer goods companies like Procter & Gamble and various tech providers.

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Sujata Neidig, Freescale's Americas business development manager for the company's microcontroller unit, said Thread is based on existing technologies, but built on a mesh network that doesn't have one point of failure. If smart home products connected via Wi-Fi performance could be spotty and there would be more battery drain.

Neidig said that Thread products will be demonstrated at CES in January with consumer availability in the months after. "We're clearly in the early stage of connected devices and products, but Thread is a way to make the integration easier so there shouldn't be IT issues," she said.

Freescale's pre-certified stack for Thread is available with full certification expected by the end of November.