Nest gives Thread IoT protocol group a new president and a new open-source implementation

Manufacturers who want to provide Thread support without writing their own software stack can now download Nest's Openthread from Github

Thread, an open wireless protocol for the Internet of things, is getting a boost from one of its biggest boosters, Google-owned Nest Labs.

An IPv6 networking protocol built on the 802.15.4 mesh networking standard, Thread is designed to connect hundreds of low-power devices to one other and to the cloud.

While the protocol is open, anyone wanting to build Thread-compatible devices had to roll their own software stack implementing it -- until now.

Late Wednesday, Nest published the source code for its implementation of the Thread protocol, OpenThread, on Github under a three-clause BSD license, allowing anyone to reuse, modify or redistribute it in source or binary form.

The move will simplify the work of manufacturers hoping to add Thread functionality to smart home devices.

Nest, now part of Google's parent, Alphabet, uses Thread as part of its Weave system for connecting smart devices around the home. It was one of the founders of Thread Group, alongside Samsung Electronics, Arm Holdings, Freescale Semiconductor (now part of NXP Semiconductors) and others.

On Thursday the Thread Group announced another contribution from Nest: a new president.

Grant Erickson, principal software engineer at Nest, takes over as president from Chris Boross, another Nest alumnus, who left in February. Boross led the organization for its first 18 months, and now works at another mesh networking company, Eero.

The organization now has 230 members, many of them outside the U.S., but Erickson wants to see Thread become even more cosmopolitan.

While many of Thread's initial backers were from the IT and consumer electronics industry, the organization is building a solid base of support from electrical equipment manufacturers. In recent months, it has appointed French company Schneider Electric to the board, and recruited German lightbulb manufacturer Osram and French motorized blind maker Somfy as members.

That kind of backing is important as, without the support of such companies, any home automation protocol will lack mainstream distribution and be doomed to provide islands of intelligence in an otherwise dumb home.

The Thread Group is looking to expand adoption of the networking protocol in other ways, too.

It is working to integrate Thread with the application layer developed by Zigbee Alliance for use in home automation systems and other connected devices, and also collaborating with The Connected Lighting Alliance (TCLA) to develop an open networking layer for professional lighting applications.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Peter Sayer

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Crucial Ballistix Elite 32GB Kit (4 x 8GB) DDR4-3000 UDIMM

Learn more >

Gadgets & Things

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Plox Star Wars Death Star Levitating Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?