ZigBee, Thread Group to Drive IoT Standards Interoperability
The two groups later this year will roll out a solution that will enable ZigBee-based products to use the Thread networking protocol.The ZigBee Alliance and Thread Group, two of a number of industry groups working on standards for the booming Internet of things space, later this year will roll out an offering that will integrate the work of both consortiums. The effort, which will include a combined solution that will enable ZigBee products to use the Thread protocol and a certification program to ensure interoperability, is the result of a partnership that the two groups announced in April 2015. It is also the latest step in consolidating a widely fragmented environment that includes myriad standards efforts around the Internet of things (IoT). With the massive numbers of connected devices that will make up the rapidly growing IoT, there is a push to streamline the standard efforts—which also include the AllSeen Alliance, Open Internet Consortium (OIC) and Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC)—to enable more devices and sensors to be able to connect and communicate with each other. "Building on more than a dozen years of experience in standards and ecosystem creation, we are now taking an important step toward IoT unification by adding compatibility with the Thread networking stack and its IP underpinnings to the ZigBee Alliance's solutions portfolio," ZigBee President and CEO Tobin Richardson said in a statement. "This portfolio spans all network layers and critical energy-harvesting and other foundational technologies, and is supported by all necessary interoperability and marketing solutions."
Chris Boross, president of the Thread Group and technical product market manager for Google's Nest business, said that the two groups "are taking a big step toward reducing IoT industry fragmentation. Bringing ZigBee's application layer to Thread-enabled devices will simplify product development and increase interoperability, encouraging the Thread ecosystem—and the connected home—to flourish."