Thread Group aims its IoT mesh network at enterprises

Thread hopes to replace proprietary networks for lighting and other systems with its IP-based protocol

The still-fragmented internet of things is slowly converging on protocols that may someday work in both homes and enterprises.

The latest move to standardize how IoT devices talk to each other is a push by the Thread Group into industrial and commercial systems. Its Thread protocol, with roots in Alphabet’s Nest division, defines a low-power wireless mesh network. The organization hopes Thread will bring systems with proprietary network technologies into the Internet Protocol world, letting companies leverage their existing IP skills and technologies.

Just two years ago, attempts to standardize IoT were all over the map, pulling the fledgling industry in different directions even when the idea was to bring it together. But since then, there has been some consolidation.

For example, the AllSeen Alliance recently merged with the Open Connectivity Foundation, and the Thread Group has partnerships with OCF and others to make its networking protocol work with their upper-layer software.

These groups have spoken of someday serving commercial and industrial markets but have been mostly associated with smart homes. Industrial IoT has its own set of specifications, some of them handed down from older M2M (machine-to-machine) systems, and its own efforts to get everyone on the same page. For example, the Industrial Internet Consortium is developing testbeds to help enterprises implement IoT.

The Thread Group has already begun to collaborate with the Connected Lighting Alliance, a group focused on enterprise lighting systems. Now it’s making the Thread protocol strong enough for industrial uses by adding optional extensions and enhancements, said Grant Erickson, president of Thread Group and a principal software engineer at Nest. For example, it plans to add certificate-based authentication that would require devices to have a certificate before they could join the network.

The group hopes vendors will use its protocol for lighting, security, energy management, and other systems. Some of these products use special network standards that aren’t based on IP and require a different set of skills to deploy and manage. Thread could replace these proprietary protocols, make IoT more resilient, and simplify life for IT professionals, Erickson said.

The group is developing the new specifications now and expects to complete them late next year or in early 2018, he said. Thread-based enterprise products should follow soon after.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Stephen Lawson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?