Nest, Samsung and a handful of other companies have all teamed up to create a new wireless networking protocol meant for seamlessly connecting gadgets in your home. Aptly named Thread, the new protocol is meant to be a kind of fresh start for the Internet of Things by creating low-power, wireless mesh networks so devices can more easily connect. The new standard will go up against Wi-Fi and Bluetooth standards, and essentially create its own little smarthome network for your connected gadgets.
Thread-ready devices aren’t expected to launch until mid-2015, so we’re still a ways off from seeing if a new protocol can work. With so many other gadgets relying on Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, can a new standard even nudge its way in? Thread says it’ll be better than Wi-Fi because it requires less power and is more efficient than Bluetooth with IPv6 support.
The new protocol will be built on existing 802.15.4 wireless devices with a software update, so it’ll be pretty simple to get yourself running on the new standard. When Thread launches, users will be able to connect more than 250 devices, and it won’t even require a central hub in order to work.
“Existing wireless networking approaches were introduced long before the Internet of Things gained ground,” said Google’s Vint Cerf, who acts as a Thread advisor. “The Thread protocol takes existing technologies and combines the best parts of each to provide a better way to connect products in the home.”
Maybe by mid-2015, having your phone, fridge, washing machine and garage door opener all on the same network will be much, much easier. The smarthome revolution is still in its nascent stages, but excitement is starting to build with some of the bigger companies, such as Apple, showing interest.
Will a new protocol help introduce the home of the future? That’s the plan. We’ll find out when Thread devices start hitting next year.