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Google and Samsung unveil Thread standard for Internet of Things compatibility

Google's Nest Labs (opens in new tab) has come together with Samsung and ARM (along with others) to introduce a new standard for connected devices spanning the Internet of Things (IoT).

The new standard, known as Thread, is designed to ease compatibility issues when it comes to the various smart home gadgets which are already spilling out onto the market, ensuring they can all communicate with each other (and keep your home smart, hopefully, rather than a disaster area). It's a networking protocol with an emphasis on security and power efficiency which Nest claims makes it more suitable for connecting up devices around your home than the likes Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or indeed other existing low-power wireless standards such as ZigBee.

The new Thread Group includes Nest, Samsung and ARM along with Freescale Semiconductor, Silicon Labs, Big Ass Fans and Yale (yes, the manufacturer of locks). All of these will work on Thread-standardised smart gadgetry – and indeed, Nest's products (such as its smoke detector and smart thermostat) already use a version of Thread, according to Product Manager Chris Boross who spoke to Reuters (opens in new tab).

And the standard should be compatible with smart gadgetry powered by other Internet of Things platforms such as the Open Interconnect Consortium (OIC) announced last week (opens in new tab) which features Intel, Dell and Samsung, and the aforementioned ZigBee via a software update which could be applied next year. That's when "Thread-compliant products will start hitting the market," according to Boross.

As the IoT further expands, Google clearly believes the smart home is set to be a massive part of the tech world – though quite how Apple's HomeKit protocol (opens in new tab) will fit in with Google & company's new standard remains to be seen.

Darren Allan

Darran has over 25 years of experience in digital and magazine publishing as a writer and editor. He's also an author, having co-written a novel published by Little, Brown (Hachette UK). He currently writes news, features and buying guides for TechRadar, and occasionally other Future websites such as T3 or Creative Bloq and he's a copy editor for TechRadar Pro. Darrran has written for a large number of tech and gaming websites/magazines in the past, including Web User and ComputerActive. He has also worked at IDG Media, having been the Editor of PC Games Solutions and the Deputy Editor of PC Home.