Google seems like entering competition with Amazon by announcing OpenThread, an open source-based code implementation of the Nest technology. Google-owned Nest unveiled its intention to create a rival to Amazon’s Echo earlier this year and has been working on a service for smart homes that would connect already connected devices and services.
“As a company with a long-standing history of actively supporting and contributing to open technologies, OpenThread allows us to work with other like-minded corporations and individuals to deliver a best-in-class implementation of Thread that can be widely used for the advancement of a connected and secure home,” the company said in a statement.
Techcrunch informs that OpenThread is Nest’s customised version of Thread, a mesh network designed to securely and reliably connect hundreds of products around the home – without blowing through battery life. Thread is low-power, which makes it open to “millions of existing devices on the market” if their makers choose to update to Thread.
One more great thing about Thread is its interoperability. “When it comes to OpenThread, we see it as one of the core products, a fundamental building block, for the connected, conscious home. It will improve interoperabilty between products dramatically. It will drive the connected home for a lot of consumers”, says Greg Hu, head of Nest Platform and Works with Nest.
Nest launched OpenThread thus making the code and platform more available and allowing hardware and software developers to create products that can work in a Nest-led ecosystem. “We wanted to make sure the tech was far enough along to be valuable for partners,” said Hu. “The intention was always to open source it. We are also trying to get more silicon partners to take our version of Thread and add it to their chips and push it forward.”
Google burst into action right in time. Amazon was rather successful announcing Echo, a wireless speaker activated by voice command. It didn’t take Echo too long to transform into a platform for controlling other services, just by walking. Multiple developers from Spotify to Domino’s have created services that can be used through Echo.
Google has decided to compete for the market with its OpenThread announcement and promises more products shipped this year.
Techcrunch talks also about an interesting change of dynamics of the Thread Group itself. At the start, Samsung had equal billing with Nest among the initial group of companies that supported the new protocol. Today, the situation has definitely taken a turn for the worse for Samsung – it is referred to only as a backer of the wider group. Samsung is no more mentioned in the group that is “contributing to the ongoing development of OpenThread.” The current list includes Nest, ARM, Atmel (a subsidiary of Microchip Technology), Dialog Semiconductor, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., and Texas Instruments.