Apple Joins Technology Group for Mesh-Connected IoT Devices

The Thread Group, an illustration

Apple joined the Thread Group on Monday, the group behind the Thread protocol. Thread is an IPv6-based technology for creating mesh networks out of Internet of Things (IoT) devices, and using Thread requires membership in the Thread Group.

IHS analyst Lee Ratliff spotted it (via 9to5Mac):

Thread Protocol

As Mr. Ratliff said, this could turn into big news for HomeKit. If Apple were to support Thread with HomeKit, it could greatly expand the number of HomeKit, or at least make it easier for device makers to incorporate HomeKit support. Additionally, it could make HomeKit networks more useful and capable.

Here’s the Thread Group’s description of Thread:

It’s hard to get devices to talk to one another. And once they do, the connection is often spotty and power hungry. Thread changes all that. It’s a mesh network designed to securely and reliably connect hundreds of products around the home – without blowing through battery life.

  • Designed specifically for the home
  • Robust self-healing mesh network
  • No single point of failure
  • Interoperable by design using proven, open standards and IPv6 technology with 6LoWPAN as the foundation
  • Requires just a software enhancement for today’s 802.15.4 products

Designed to support a wide variety of products for the home: appliances, access control, climate control, energy management, lighting, safety, and security

As someone who wants to see HomeKit become amazing, Apple joining the Thread Group is terrific news.  I hope this group membership leads to substantial progress in the HomeKit ecosystem, but it will take some time.

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