ZigBee Alliance Creating End-to-End IoT Product Development Solution that Brings Its Industry-Leading Applications Library to Thread Group’s IP Network Protocol

  • Solution will expand the reach of the ZigBee Applications Library — the industry’s most complete for IoT device interoperability — by adding compatibility with the Thread Group’s Internet Protocol (IP) networking layer to ZigBee’s comprehensive and proven set of solutions for the wireless IoT.
  • In partnership, the ZigBee Alliance and the Thread Group will provide a roadmap for specifications, branding, and a complete test and certification program.
  • Users can leverage investments in ZigBee technology, expanding their market opportunities as the Alliance continues to broaden its portfolio and drive industrywide standards unification opportunities for the IoT.
  • Solution will have broad industry support from multiple major suppliers backing both technology groups.

The ZigBee Alliance, a non-profit association of companies creating open, global standards that define the Internet of Things (IoT) for use in consumer, commercial and industrial applications, today announced it is working with the Thread Group on an end-to-end solution for IP-based IoT networks.  The solution will become part of the ZigBee Alliance’s comprehensive set of product development specifications, technologies, and branding and certification programs.

The ZigBee Alliance and the Thread Group established a liaison agreement in April 2015 to explore opportunities for bringing ZigBee’s widely deployed applications library to the newly developed Thread networking protocol.  The two organizations have now completed their evaluations and the ZigBee Alliance has begun development of a combined solution that will streamline product development, improve interoperability and ultimately enhance the consumer’s experience in the connected home across a variety of smart IoT applications.

“With this liaison agreement, we are bringing the industry’s most advanced and proven low-power networking layer experience to a complete and interoperable, end-to-end solution using our consolidated ZigBee Common Applications Library,” said Tobin Richardson, President and CEO of the ZigBee Alliance.  “Building on more than a dozen years of experience in standards and ecosystem creation, we are now taking an important step toward IoT unification by adding compatibility with the Thread networking stack and its IP underpinnings to the ZigBee Alliance’s solutions portfolio.  This portfolio spans all network layers and critical energy-harvesting and other foundational technologies, and is supported by all necessary interoperability and marketing solutions.”

The ZigBee Alliance will incorporate support for the Thread Group’s networking layer with the comprehensive ZigBee Applications Layer, which now consolidates all previous market-specific ZigBee device profiles into a single, unified library.  The goal is to release a complete solution, including an end-to-end certification program, during the third quarter of 2016 that meets the market’s desire for IP-based low-power radio frequency communications in the Smart Home and other IoT markets.

“The ZigBee Alliance and Thread Group are taking a big step towards reducing IoT industry fragmentation,” said Chris Boross, president of the Thread Group and technical product marketing manager, Nest. “Bringing ZigBee’s application layer to Thread-enabled devices will simplify product development and increase interoperability, encouraging the Thread ecosystem – and the connected home – to flourish. Our organizations share many of the same members, and we look forward to collaborating with the ZigBee Alliance to offer the market a combined solution for the connected home.”

“The ZigBee Alliance is known for the creation and delivery of robust standards, testing, and certification programs for the wireless Internet of Things,” said Skip Ashton, vice president of software with Silicon Labs.  “As a founding member of both organizations, we are excited to support this program with Thread as it is in strong demand from our customers and allows them to take their ZigBee-based products into even broader markets where Thread has done some important foundational work at the networking layer.”

“As a strong contributing member of both organizations, we’re excited and supportive of this announcement, and believe it will reduce uncertainty and accelerate adoption of IoT technologies by device vendors and consumers,” said Kevin Kraus, Director Product Management of Yale Security Inc.  “We’re looking forward to delivering products to market based on this combined solution, and working with our ZigBee customers to access new markets.”

“As a founding member of both ZigBee and Thread, we see the combination of these technologies as a win-win for the entire IoT market,” said Emmanuel Sambuis, Executive Director of MCU and Connectivity Products for NXP’s Microcontroller business line. “Pairing Thread’s IP protocols with ZigBee’s open, field-strengthened applications layer gives device vendors an interoperable, reliable, end-to-end solution for the connected home and other IoT markets. NXP and its solutions partners look forward to supporting the development and deployment of this combined solution, enabling our customers to build the next generation of connected products.”



ZigBee at CES

From January 6 through 9, 2016, hundreds of ZigBee Alliance members will be spotlighting ZigBee 3.0 at CES 2016.  Booth sponsors include Atmel, DSR, Legrand, MMB Networks, NXP, OSRAM, OWON, Philips, POMCube and Ubisys.  The ZigBee Pavilion at CES is located in Booth #71344 in the Smart Home section of the Tech West emerging technology zone, located in the Sands Expo and Convention Center.  Information about the ZigBee Alliance and membership opportunities is available here.