The industry group backing the Internet of Things (IoT) networking protocol Thread has enlisted product certification outfit UL to perform interoperability and security testing for products integrating the Thread protocol.
The alliance with UL marks the latest milestone for Thread Group , which was formed in July and counts heavy hitters such as Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (Korea: SEC), Freescale Semiconductor Inc. and Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)-owned Nest Labs among its founders. The group's membership now numbers more than 50 entities, spanning service providers, silicon developers and product companies. (See Thread Protocol for IoT Proceeds to First Beta and Thread Group Spins New IoT Networking Protocol.)
Thread is an open protocol derived from characteristics of IEEE 802.15.4, IETF IPv6, and 6LoWPAN (an acronym of IPv6 over low-power wireless personal area networks). Thread's developers see their creation as distinct from the other IoT protocol efforts that are attracting the attention of many IoT industry hopefuls because it's based on existing protocols and focuses solely on developing a home networking standard for IoT devices, leaving the application layer for later. (See AllSeen Attracts More IoT Hopefuls and Intel, Others Form Another IoT Alliance .)
"The approach Thread took to producing an IP-based mesh network is definitely a differentiator," says Chris Boross, president of Thread Group and technical product marketing manager at Nest (which already uses a version of Thread). "Thread is much more focused in terms of what it's actually solving, because we're a networking protocol. That's absolutely by design to deal with just the networking stack."
Despite the networking focus for now, Thread Group does want to work with other protocol developers to help define and streamline the IoT application layer in the future, Boross notes. "We intend to make it easy for application developers to pre-engineer for Thread," he says.
UL will develop and manage the product certification process for Thread, in conjunction with Santa Clara, Ca.-based Granite River Labs Inc. Boross expects product certification to be available in the first half of 2015.
— Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Gigabit Cities/IoT, Light Reading