Almost exactly a year after the Thread Group formed, the organization is now launching its Internet of Things technical specification and says it will kick off a certification program in September headed by new hire Thomas Sciorilli. The networking spec is available starting today to Thread Group members.
The Thread Group also announced that Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) has joined its Board of Directors, bringing the total number of sponsor companies to ten, including big names like Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)-owned Nest, Samsung Corp. and Tyco International Ltd. (NYSE: TYC; London: TYI).
Thread is designed to enable a second network in fixed locations like smart homes and other connected facilities. Combining low power and high reliability, the protocol isn't meant to replace traditional WiFi, but instead enable another layer of networking for utilitarian devices like sensors, lighting controls and thermostats.
Several characteristics make Thread suitable for an in-home machine-to-machine network. The protocol supports a self-healing mesh architecture with the ability to scale to hundreds of devices. It includes "banking-class encryption," and, built on standards like IPv6 Low-power Wireless Personal Area Network (6LoWPAN), it will work with millions of existing wireless devices with just a software upgrade. Thread is also application agnostic, meaning it sits below the application layer and will work with any application developed on top. (See Thread Group Spins New IoT Networking Protocol.)
Started by seven founding members in the summer of 2014, the Thread Group opened membership up to new organizations last October, and today has 165 members. Top brands on the membership list include LG Electronics Inc. (London: LGLD; Korea: 6657.KS) , Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) and Royal Philips Electronics N.V. (NYSE: PHG; Amsterdam: PHI) , among many others.
It won't be long before the first Thread products are expected to hit the market. According to Thread President Chris Boross, also technical product marketing manager of Nest Labs , early product launches will be in the fourth quarter of this year or the first quarter of 2016.
Adding some detail to that forecast, Boross predicted, "I think CES is going to be an exciting time."
— Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, Light Reading