Thread Group enhances scope into commercial workspaces; moves outside connected home

The Thread Group announced Wednesday its intention to expand Thread beyond the connected home and into the commercial building and professional sectors, to unlock valuable new use cases for its members.

The group will continue its efforts to drive adoption of the Thread networking specification for the connected home, and will leverage this technology for the commercial building and professional sectors by adding extensions to the existing specification.

These extensions will address use cases such as enterprise security and commissioning options, and enabling and managing large Thread subnets. These updates will be beneficial to a range of commercial building professionals including installers, network engineers, application commissioners and end-users operating system components.

Designed for devices and things in the places where people live and work, Thread is an IPv6 networking protocol built on open standards for low-power 802.15.4 mesh networks that can easily and securely connect hundreds of devices to each other and directly to the cloud.

The non-profit Thread Group is focused on making Thread the foundation for the Internet of Things in the home and beyond, educating product developers, builders and consumers on the unique features and benefits of Thread and ensuring a positive experience through rigorous, meaningful product certification.

Thread is backed by companies including ARM, Big Ass Solutions, Nest Labs, NXP, OSRAM, Qualcomm, Samsung Electronics, Schneider Electric, Silicon Labs, Somfy, Tyco and Yale Security. Since opening its membership in October 2014, Thread has grown to include a diverse membership.

The Thread Group’s member roster includes a number of companies that focus on the commercial building and professional sectors, including Big Ass Solutions, Schneider Electric, OSRAM, Crestron, Siemens, EBV and Philips Lighting. Many of these companies have committed to sharing their IP and engineering resources in order to bring the Thread solution to market for commercial buildings.

The Thread Group was formed to develop an IP-based reliable, low-power, secure and scalable mesh networking solution to be the foundation upon which any application layer can run.

The group initially focused its efforts on the connected home, and — with the successful release of the Thread 1.1 specification — numerous members and other alliances have expressed interest in deploying Thread into adjacent markets. With this expansion, the group will continue its focus on low power mesh-IP solutions, broadening its scope to enable to new use cases both inside the home and beyond.

“This is a natural step in the evolution of the Thread networking protocol, and we’re excited that industry interest in building a Thread solution for the commercial building domain has been so strong,” said Grant Erickson, president of the Thread Group and principal engineer at Nest. “This expansion will enable members to build Thread-enabled solutions that will serve a variety of use cases, not just inside the connected home but also beyond, into the commercial and professional sectors.”

To offer engineers and developers as much flexibility as possible, the Thread Group has committed to complete backwards compatibility in its commercial solution. This will address the extended and more in-depth design and development of commercial buildings.


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