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July 15, 2014

Google, Freescale and Samsung create low-power IoT standards group

Thread Group joins list of other groups aiming to connect the Internet of Things.

By Amy-Jo Crowley

A group of leading tech firms, including Google’s Nest Labs and Samsung, has announced the formation of the Thread Group.

The non-profit group, which also includes Freescale Semiconductors, Silicon Labs, Big Ass Fans, ARM and Yale Security, will focus on creating an IP-based wireless networking protocol for wirelessly connecting devices to one another and to the Internet.

The drawbacks of existing wireless protocols for IoT products, the Thread group claims, include a lack of interoperability, too much energy requirements and a lack of security functions.

The Thread protocol, which is already available in products from Nest, aims to connect battery-operated devices on a low-power network meant exclusively for the Internet of Things (IoT).

"Existing wireless networking approaches were introduced long before the Internet of Things gained ground," said Vint Cerf, VP and chief Internet evangelist at Google.

"The Thread protocol takes existing technologies and combines the best parts of each to provide a better way to connect products in the home."

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Lisa Arrowsmith, associate director, connectivity, smart homes and smart cities, IHS Technology, added: "A number of networking solutions and platforms have been introduced to address the growing demand for connected products in the home.

"Built on well-proven standards, including IEEE 802.15.4, IETF IPv6 and 6LoWPAN, Thread represents a resilient, IP-based solution for the rapidly growing Internet of Things."

The group, which will start accepting additional members later this year, joins a growing list of tech firms aiming to create interoperability standards for IoT.

Intel, chip makers Atmel and Broadcom, Dell and Samsung teamed up to form the Open Interconnect Consortium last week, while the AllSeen Alliance, led by the Linux Foundation and Qualcom, formed back in December 2013.


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