Google's Nest Labs is participating in a project to build a networking standard that could replace or supplement WiFi as billions of devices come online.
Seven companies founded Thread and launched the company in July with a goal to create one networking standard for the connected home. Next Labs, Samsung, Silicon Labs, Big Ass Fans, Arm, Freescale and Yale are part of the founding group.
The group is developing a product certification program available in the first half of 2015. Thread-based products are already in development, as demonstrated this week at the Google Campus. Nest Labs project manager Chris Boross demonstrated the use of a Nest thermostat to activate two pole-mounted ceiling fans that stood on either side of him. The fans manufactured by Big Ass Fans took a few seconds to begin spinning slowly.
The fans use the Thread network, which uses low-energy power, and connect to devices via Internet Protocol version 6 -- the next generation of the Web technology. Thread can support more than 250 products per network, managed with a user's smartphone or tablet, and has a low latency period of less than 100 milliseconds for each typical interaction.
The network standard will have an indirect influence on online advertising and marketing for those devices without screens. The data will prove more valuable than the devices. Thread was designed for home products like appliances, access control, climate control, energy management, lighting, safety and security. On Wednesday, the group opens membership to any company wishing to join.
Another wireless standard, Zigbee, got a head start in mid-2000, but has been slow to catch on.