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Zigbee and Thread integration set for CES demo

Steve Rogerson
December 22, 2016
 
Multiple members of the Zigbee Alliance and Thread Group have demonstrated prototypes that run the Zigbee universal language for smart devices on Thread networks.
 
The demonstrations, shown privately at a Thread Group’s members meeting, are set for public display at next month’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. This is said to be a key milestone in their liaison agreement, and highlights accelerating momentum behind an emerging ecosystem of connected products that will interoperate over Thread IP networks using the widely deployed Zigbee language.
 
“As our two organisations near completion of our respective product development that bring the Zigbee universal language to Thread networks, multiple members have already demonstrated the value of this liaison agreement and its promise for delivering a consistent product experience over IP networks,” said Grant Erickson, president of the Thread Group. “That we have so quickly reached the technology demonstration stage, with many product, silicon and solutions providers participating, is clear evidence that market demand is driving interoperable IP-based technologies. Our members are working hard to meet this demand and, as a result of their early investments, their product development cycles are well underway.”
 
Both organisations will showcase CES demonstrations from companies including MMB Networks, Nortek, NXP Semiconductors, Osram, P&G, Resolution Products, Schneider Electric, Silicon Labs, Somfy, Yale and Zen Thermostat.
 
“A key strength of the Zigbee Alliance's technologies is our application layer, the only mature, widely deployed, interoperable and open IoT application language,” said Tobin Richardson, president and CEO of the Zigbee Alliance. “Alliance members from chip suppliers to consumer product manufacturers have worked hard to bring our proven application layer to Thread’s exciting IP mesh networking technology. This creates compelling new value, allowing vendors developing Zigbee solutions today to leverage that investment across multiple networks and markets.”
 
The Thread Group and the Zigbee Alliance have worked to coordinate their roadmaps for specifications, branding guidelines, and test and certification programmes for smart products speaking the Zigbee language that run on Thread’s IP-based networks. The Thread 1.1 specification is available to members, and the Zigbee Alliance will announce details at CES for enabling its universal application language to run over Thread.
 
This will be followed by completion and launch of test, certification and branding programmes. In addition, the organisations will collaborate to enable concurrent certification to simplify the process for product vendors that want to leverage both technologies.
 
Already deployed in hundreds of millions of devices worldwide, the ZigBee Alliance’s universal language standardises application-level functionality for a wide variety of devices used in smart homes and other markets. The liaison agreement to bring this language to Thread networks is the first step in unlocking its value for driving interoperability throughout the IoT across numerous types of networking layers.
 
Thread is a wireless networking protocol that can support multiple low-bandwidth, IP-based application protocols to provide secure and reliable networks, simple connectivity and low power in the home and beyond.
 
Both organisations remain committed to their independence while cooperating to benefit their respective members.
 
Members of both enjoy early access to specifications and tools, and have opportunities to participate in and influence standards development and marketing, and take part in technology demonstrations that drive the future of the IoT.
 
Established in 2002, the Zigbee Alliance creates and evolves universal open standards.
 
Thread is an IPv6 networking protocol built on open standards for low-power 802.15.4 mesh networks that can easily and securely connect hundreds of devices to each other and directly to the cloud. Companies backing Thread include ARM, Big Ass Solutions, Nest Labs, NXP, Osram, Qualcomm, Samsung Electronics, Schneider Electric, Silicon Labs, Somfy, Tyco and Yale Security. Since opening its membership in October 2014, Thread has grown to include a diverse membership.