Google's Nest launches network technology for connected home
By Noel Randewich
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Google Inc's Nest Labs on Tuesday unveiled an industry group to encourage makers of "smart" home gadgets like locks and lightbulbs to use Thread, a new standard for devices to communicate on a network.
The attempt by Nest, a smart thermostat maker that Google bought in January for $3.2 billion, to lead the way on how household devices will speak to each other in the future underscores the importance placed by Google on cars, homes and other areas.
It follows similar initiatives by Qualcomm Inc, Intel Corp and other technology companies.
The new Thread Group includes Samsung Electronics Co and chip companies ARM Holdings Plc, Freescale Semiconductor Ltd and Silicon Labs. Big Ass Fans and lock maker Yale are also members of the group, which will certify Thread-compatible products.
Thread is a networking protocol with security and low-power features that make it better for connecting household devices than other technologies such as Wifi, NFC, Bluetooth or ZigBee, said Chris Boross, a Nest product manager who heads the new group. Nest's products already use a version of Thread.
The radio chips used for Thread-compatible smart devices are already in many existing connected home products that use ZigBee, like Philips Hue smart lightbulbs.
Those ZigBee devices could be updated with software from their manufacturers to work with Thread after a product certification program starts next year, Boross said.
"Around that time I imagine that Thread-compliant products will start hitting the market, but people can start building Thread today," he said. Continued...