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Nest, Samsung, ARM team up for Thread mesh networking standard

If the Thread Group gets its way, the Internet of Things will have its protocol for mesh networking at its heart.
Written by Chris Duckett, Contributor on

Samsung, Google-owned Nest, ARM, Freescale Semiconductor, Silicon Labs, Big Ass Fans, and Yale Security have become the founding members of the Thread Group, an organisation created to push the adoption of its new low-power, IPv6-using networking protocol, Thread.

Striking out at existing low-power personal area networks, Thread said in a statement that the currently available protocols suffer from a lack of IPv6 functionality, lack interoperability, have high-power requirements, or use a network architecture that creates a single point of failure.

"Existing wireless networking approaches were introduced long before the Internet of Things gained ground," said Vint Cerf, vice president and chief Internet evangelist at Google, and advisor to the Thread Group. "The Thread protocol takes existing technologies and combines the best parts of each to provide a better way to connect products in the home."

Thread claims that more than 250 networked devices will be supported with its protocol, and that any 802.15.4 wireless-capable devices will only need a software update to use Thread. Nest already uses a version of Thread in its products.

Touting its power-saving ability, Thread said it would be possible for "sleepy nodes" to operate for years on a single AA battery.

The Internet of Things is slated to become a $7.1 trillion market by 2020, according to a recent report by IDC.

In 2013, the global IoT market stood at around $1.9 trillion, according to IDC's figures, with around 90 percent of all IoT devices being installed in the world's developed regions.

According to its study, IDC predicted that the global IoT market would hit $7.1 trillion by 2020, as people around the word — and particularly in developed nations — develop an affinity for full-time connectivity.

Earlier this year, Google acquired Nest for US$3.2 billion, while Apple made its move into the smart home at its recent Worldwide Developers Conference when it announced the HomeKit network protocol.

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