Nest Unveils Network Technology for the Connected Home

Tim Maytom

Nest-Connected-Thermostat-M2M-Internet-of-ThingsGoogle-owned Nest Labs has unveiled Thread, a network for connecting together smart household items, supported by a number of large manufacturers.

Thread acts as a networking protocol with built-in security features and low-power mode, making it more suited to connecting household devices than conventional wi-fi, NFC or Bluetooth. Similar network initiatives have been made by Intel, Qualcomm and other technology companies, and Nest's attempt to enter this particular market demonstrates the importance Google is placing on the connected home.

The Thread Group, an industry group aimed at encouraging makers of smart home gadgets to embrace Nest's network solution, includes Samsung, Yale, Big Ass Fans and chip companies ARM Holdings, Freescale Semiconductor and Silicon Labs.

The radio chips used to make devices Thread-compatible already exist in many connected home products that use Zigbee, another network solution. These devices could be updated with software to make them work with Thread following a product certification process that will begin next year.

While Nest and Google will be hoping that the Thread Group can standardise how household connected devices communicate with each other, there are already a number of industry consortia attempting to do the same. Earlier this month, Microsoft joined the Qualcomm-led AllSeen Alliance, while Thread Group member Samsung joined another consortium with Intel and Dell just last week.

Apple, who are known for strictly controlling how its products interact with other companies' devices, already announced HomeKit, its own framework for connecting household gadgets at WWDC earlier this year.