Thread is at the heart of the most important IoT convergence initiatives. In the smart home ecosystem, we have seen Project Connected Home over-IP focus on Thread and Wi-Fi first. The Project is a unifying platform for the smart Home backed by Google, Apple, Amazon and Comcast and many other leading technology companies with the primary goal of increasing compatibility among smart home products to enable more innovative solutions by IoT developers. And in the smart building space, we have seen IP-BliS an industry coalition that aims to raise awareness to the value IP networks can bring to the smart building space, promote Thread as one of their core protocols. So, Why is Thread getting all the attention and what is OpenThread?
Thread is an IP-based, secure, low power, mesh network protocol. The secret ingredient in this recipe is the combination of IP and low power. Thread brings IP to low-power devices securely and reliably. Being low-power and IP-based means that Thread enables your coin cell powered smart home electronics to operate with the same security protocols that you use (and trust) for your banking transactions. Thread tackles a unique problem in the smart home and building ecosystem – bringing the Internet to low-power devices.
Thread compliments the battery-powered wireless protocols with IP capability.
From an ecosystem convergence standpoint, a significant benefit of Thread is that it can support various application layers. This is because Thread abstracts all the networking under IP. To Thread, all application-layer transactions are merely IP traffic, which allows a good deal of flexibility and fluidity. Developers can start using Thread today and change the application layer later when needed, without having to upgrade or change the whole software stack.
Thread implementation, OpenThread, is open source, meaning when you use Thread, you get all the power of a community of developers working together to perfect the software stack. This gives you the bandwidth to focus on innovation rather than the basics. It also means that you can actively contribute to the code base.
Based on its features and reliable implementation, demand for Thread has been increasing and will likely continue to grow. Thread has the potential to become the IP layer that glues the IoT together.
Getting Started with Thread
You can start developing smart home and smart building solutions with Thread on the EFR32 series today. EFR32MG21A/B is our highest integrated Thread-certified part. And because everyone should be prioritizing security in their IoT solutions, EFR32MG21B supports SecureVault technology, which enables you to protect user data from hacks all the way down to the chip level.
Developing wireless networks can be tough, and this is why we provide an incredible suite of developer tools in Simplicity Studio. To get started with OpenThread using Simplicity Studio 5.0, watch this incredible demo on OpenThread from the WorksWith 2020 conference.
Project Connected Home over IP won’t officially be released until next year, but to enable our eager and forward-thinking developers, we are already providing demos and use cases for developing CHIP using OpenThread on our EFR32 parts. We are excited to work on making actual solutions using Project Connected Home over IP.
While there are many Thread use-cases, it is still early in its market adoption process, and there will be a direct relationship between IP valuation and Thread adoption. The primary two unification efforts of Connected Home over IP and IP-BLiS put Thread at the core of their implementation. Thread is a future-proof technology. Developers adopting it now should feel safe doing so in a world full of exponential growth and development.