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Nest Nurtures New IoT Protocol

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Even before its $3.2 billion acquisition by Google, Nest Labs was quietly building into all its products a low-power mesh networking protocol. Now it hopes to make it an industry standard, called Thread, for home automation devices.

A handful of chip and system makers, including ARM, Freescale, Silicon Labs, and Samsung, have joined the ad hoc Thread Group led by Nest. It aims to release the royalty-free protocol this year to anyone who joins the group.

Thread is one of a growing number of efforts to unify or supply some missing piece for the highly fragmented Internet of Things sector. In an interview with EE Times, Chris Boross, a technical marketing manager with Nest and president of the Thread Group, explained why current protocols for consumer home automation products don't meet its requirements.

For the full story, see EBN's sister site EE Times.

— Rick Merritt is the Silicon Valley Bureau Chief of EE Times.

32 comments on “Nest Nurtures New IoT Protocol

  1. Susan Fourtané
    July 16, 2014

    One thing that I would like to mention here is the importance of security in the IoT universe, and obviously, the Thread Group has thought about it.

    Thread has encrypted networks and uses a public-key cryptography similar to those used by banks, which is great. 

    -Susan

  2. Daniel
    July 17, 2014

    “A handful of chip and system makers, including ARM, Freescale, Silicon Labs, and Samsung, have joined the ad hoc Thread Group led by Nest. It aims to release the royalty-free protocol this year to anyone who joins the group.”

    Rick, so Google is using the same Android development strategy. Good for the industry.It can help to increase the production and to deliver the end product at a cheaper price

  3. Daniel
    July 17, 2014

    “Thread has encrypted networks and uses a public-key cryptography similar to those used by banks, which is great.”

    Susan, you mean 256 bit encryption. Is it necessary that IoT has to go for such high end encryption for all devices? I think such encryption can be limited to high end devices where sensitive info's are handling.

  4. Susan Fourtané
    July 17, 2014

    Rich, 

    Google is not the only one involved in the Thread Group.

    No one will ever be happy no matter what companies do, or don't do. Do you know what would it take to change that?

    -Susan

  5. Susan Fourtané
    July 17, 2014

    Jacob, 

    “Is it necessary that IoT has to go for such high end encryption for all devices? I think such encryption can be limited to high end devices where sensitive info's are handling.”

    Yes, it is necessary. We are not only talking about devices, but also entire suystems connected to devices, and sending information to other networks.

    If you have the lights, heating, and burglar alarms systems in your house as part of your IoT network most likely you want them to be secure, especially the burglar alarm system.

    If the system is hacked for not counting with a public-key encryption similar to those the bank have, your house will be at risk. They also need to speak the same network protocol, instead of different ones as they mostly do today. 

    -Susan 

     

  6. ceglanglang
    July 17, 2014

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  7. _hm
    July 19, 2014

    What mobile devices supports this Thread prototcol? Or is there other way for them to communicate with it?

  8. Wale Bakare
    July 20, 2014

    >>One thing that I would like to mention here is the importance of security in the IoT universe, and obviously, the Thread Group has thought about it<<

    I think cyber security remains a hottest issue and, very important in internet of things space. Meanwhile, the public key infrastructure (PKI) technology, a tested and well implemented crytography in financial sector as well, ecommerce. Thread Group should however, make a more enhanced security features for IOT. 

  9. Daniel
    July 23, 2014

    “If you have the lights, heating, and burglar alarms systems in your house as part of your IoT network most likely you want them to be secure, especially the burglar alarm system.”

    Susan, agreed in such ecco system it has to be protected well. I considered each as standalone device.

  10. Daniel
    July 23, 2014

    “I think cyber security remains a hottest issue and, very important in internet of things space. Meanwhile, the public key infrastructure (PKI) technology, a tested and well implemented crytography in financial sector as well, ecommerce. Thread Group should however, make a more enhanced security features for IOT. “

    Wale, No doubt about cyber security is going to applicable in IoT space too. But cyber security itself not matured enough to stop crime or to protect the systems from wrong hands.

  11. Susan Fourtané
    July 23, 2014

    Wale, 

    Thread Group should however, make a more enhanced security features for IOT.”

    A more enhanced security system than the one banks use, which is the one the Thread Group is using?! 

    -Susan

  12. Susan Fourtané
    July 23, 2014

    Jacob, 

    The whole point of the IoT is that the devices and systems communicate with each other over the same network. 

    -Susan

  13. Wale Bakare
    July 23, 2014

    @Susan,

    Imagine this – you put on your washing machine, timed for just 45mins and, 3 hours passed machine still working.

     

     

  14. Susan Fourtané
    July 23, 2014

    Wale, 

    Why would that be? 

    -Susan

  15. Ashu001
    July 24, 2014

    Wale,

    Please explain-Why that should happen for the Washing Machine?

    Will that be the case if there is some sort of Technical Fault?

    But then Would'nt the Machine Just shut down?

    Just wondering.

    Regards

    Ashish.

  16. Ashu001
    July 24, 2014

    Jacob,

    That is a fair and balanced statement to make.

    Cyber security is such a fast changing and constantly evolving field that one really has no clue where one will be a few days from now.

    That does'nt mean one should stop trying to put in place adequate security features does it?

    Even here in the IoT space one needs to apply the same logic and thinking as well.

    We may not get to 100% security but atleast it would better than nothing.

    Won't it?

  17. Ashu001
    July 24, 2014

    Jacob,

    That's the magic of IoT.

    Interconnectivity and the massive permutations and combinations that can result from it.

    Its really a very-very big deal today!

    Is it any vendor all the Big Tech Vendors are harping aggressively on this issue today?

     

  18. Ashu001
    July 24, 2014

    Susan,

    That is a very fair statement to make here!

    Important thing is there is innovation in this area and that Google is encouraging it.

    As more players come on stream eventually it will see a great deal more improvement and even more competition in the Security space as well.

    Not a bad way of looking at things!

    One should'nt forget that most Technology was launched first by the Government or via Government Grants(where as the Competition there???).

    It was only later on that Innovation and technology from the Private Sector kicked in.

     

  19. Wale Bakare
    July 24, 2014

    That is an assumption in case of tampering or hacking by the men of underworld. The possible scenario would however, state of the washing machine should that happen.

    The washing machine may probably not transitioning to finish washing. Even if shuts down and restarted, the machine resumes working until the problem is troubleshoot and/or diagnosed. 

     

  20. Ashu001
    July 24, 2014

    Wale,

    Is this a real case you are alluding to here?

    If not,you really have a most vivid Imagination!

    I doubt the underworld would be that interested in Washing Machines per se.

    They have bigger fish to fry!

     

  21. Daniel
    July 30, 2014

    “The whole point of the IoT is that the devices and systems communicate with each other over the same network. “

    Susan, Right. Self talking or communicating to the nearby devices are important in IoT

  22. Daniel
    July 30, 2014

    “That's the magic of IoT. Interconnectivity and the massive permutations and combinations that can result from it. Its really a very-very big deal today! Is it any vendor all the Big Tech Vendors are harping aggressively on this issue today?”

    Asish, it's only a deal for vendors and business peoples.

  23. Daniel
    July 30, 2014

    “That is a fair and balanced statement to make. Cyber security is such a fast changing and constantly evolving field that one really has no clue where one will be a few days from now. That does'nt mean one should stop trying to put in place adequate security features does it? Even here in the IoT space one needs to apply the same logic and thinking as well. We may not get to 100% security but atleast it would better than nothing. Won't it?”

    Asish, security is an ever green filed for both developers and hackers; irrespective of domain space. Both are playing well like a rat and cat play

  24. Anand
    July 30, 2014

    @wale: Cyber security is as important as device security against hacks. The data can easily be manipulated on open neural networks and clouds. What we must not forget is that these devices are connected, and can be taken control of if there?s no good device security system available.

  25. Anand
    July 30, 2014

    @Jacob: I second Susan. Encryption is indeed needed if we have a vague understanding of what we?re dealing with. Data encryption procedures have come a long way but we must not forget that the counter attack is also very powerful. Moreover, there will be many levels of encryption for an IOT network, and there would be powerful encryptions in device levels, that deal with data going out of coming in.

  26. Ashu001
    July 31, 2014

    Jacob,

    In all fairness its not all Pure Hype where the only folks gaining are the vendors.

    Consumers also have a lot to Gain if they plan this Change strategically in real-time Going ahead.

     

  27. Ashu001
    July 31, 2014

    Jacob,

    Have to agree!

    Its a vibrant field where Change is the only constant.

    Have to roll with the punches here.No other way around it.

     

  28. Daniel
    August 4, 2014

    “In all fairness its not all Pure Hype where the only folks gaining are the vendors. Consumers also have a lot to Gain if they plan this Change strategically in real-time Going ahead.”

    Asish, since customers are directly interacting with vendors and if vendors are not passing the same to customers; what the point?

  29. Daniel
    August 4, 2014

    “Have to agree! Its a vibrant field where Change is the only constant. Have to roll with the punches here. No other way around it.”

    Asish, yes both are tightly coupled.

  30. Daniel
    August 4, 2014

    “I second Susan. Encryption is indeed needed if we have a vague understanding of what we?re dealing with. Data encryption procedures have come a long way but we must not forget that the counter attack is also very powerful. Moreover, there will be many levels of encryption for an IOT network, and there would be powerful encryptions in device levels, that deal with data going out of coming in.”

    Anandvy, yes both are interrelated and tightly coupled. I mean both are complimenting each other.

  31. Ashu001
    September 2, 2014

    Jacob,

    The Primary Point is education and Knowledge Sharing.

    We can share knowledge to and fro so that both partners gain expertise in this Growing Field.

    Without the right expertise in place;its very-very difficult to achieve much by way of progress and Development going forwards.

    Regards

    Ashish.

  32. Daniel
    September 4, 2014

    “The Primary Point is education and Knowledge Sharing. We can share knowledge to and fro so that both partners gain expertise in this Growing Field.”

    Asish, knowledge dissemination is important.

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