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Thread Networking Protocol Expanding Into Commercial-Building Space

Nov. 29, 2016
The Thread Group will add extensions addressing use cases such as enterprise security and commissioning options and enabling and managing large Thread subnets.

The Thread Group recently announced its intention to expand the Thread networking protocol beyond the connected home into the commercial-building and professional sectors.

The group will continue its efforts to drive adoption of Thread for the connected home, but add extensions to leverage the technology for the commercial-building and professional sectors. The extensions will address use cases such as enterprise security and commissioning options and enabling and managing large Thread subnets.

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. With the successful release of the Thread 1.1 specification, numerous members and other alliances 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 new use cases 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,” Grant Erickson, president of the Thread Group and principal engineer at Nest, said. “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.”

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 to bring the Thread solution to market for commercial buildings.

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

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.