Zigbee and Thread Announce New Standard and Certification

January 04, 2019 by Paul Shepard

The Zigbee Alliance and the Thread Group have completed the Dotdot 1.0 specification over Thread. They also announced the Dotdot over Thread certification program.

“The integration of Dotdot over Thread moves the industry forward by providing interoperability across different home networks through the Dotdot application framework,” said Tom Kerber, Senior Director, IoT Strategy and Custom Research, Parks Associates.

Zigbee Alliance's Dotdot 1.0 specification now works with Threads low- power IP networking protocol. So, developers of smart products can now use an open, mature, and certifiable interoperability language over a low-power IP network. Zigbee Alliance says that the new standard and certification program will reduce product development risk and roadblocks, enable new IoT applications, and improve the consumer experience by reducing IoT fragmentation.

“This kind of cooperation across the industry, vendors, and standards organizations is critical to the widespread interoperability—and success—of smart home devices,” Kerber said.

Notably, smart devices designers have to provide a seamless experience despite the devices speaking different languages (or in technical terms, use different “application layers”).

The Zigbee Alliance claims to have solved this issue with its open, common application layer that seamlessly connects products from many different vendors and powers popular smart home products, such as Amazon Echo Plus, the new Echo Show, and Comcast Xfinity Home Security.

Dotdot reportedly enables that universal device language to work over Thread’s low-power IP network, thereby extending this same proven approach to applications that use IP networks.

The Zigbee Alliance insists that with Dotdot over Thread, smart home vendors can assure the reliable user experiences needed to drive growth. Also, IP networking lets vendors maintain a direct connection to their device and in that way, support and continue an ongoing relationship with their customers.

Ready for Development and Deployment of Standard and Certification

“When the Zigbee Alliance announced Dotdot, the industry responded,” said Tobin Richardson, president and CEO of the Zigbee Alliance. “Over the last two years, companies from across the IoT worked together within the Alliance on this effort to take the interoperability standard at the heart of Zigbee and enable it to run over any network. Built from this solid foundation, we are excited to announce that the Dotdot spec is now prepared for ratification and release to Alliance members.”

Furthermore, to accelerate time to market, the Zigbee Alliance has extended the existing Thread commissioning mobile application to include application-level configuration of devices on a Thread network.

This mobile application, along with an automated test harness, is expected to assist member companies in advancing their Dotdot over Thread product development and facilitating their preparation for certification procedures.

Zigbee Alliance and Thread Group members that led the development of the Dotdot specification are said to be ready to help product vendors start building with Dotdot over Thread. These developers include Ubilogix, NXP Semiconductors, Silicon Labs,   DSR, and MMB Networks.

Streamlined Certification Process

“Certification is critical to ensuring interoperability between wireless devices, but it can add time and complexity for product vendors,” said Grant Erickson, president of Thread Group. “Offering an efficient, affordable, and reliable certification process was a priority for both organizations and our members. As the Zigbee Alliance and Thread Group share a number of common authorized test labs, it made sense to streamline this go-to-market phase with a coordinated path to certification.”

The Zigbee Alliance says that beginning in Q1 2019, TÜV Rheinland will be the first test firm authorized to perform both Dotdot and Thread certification tests, with more labs to be authorized soon. Each of these labs will serve as a one-stop-shop for Dotdot over Thread certification testing. Successful products will then get their accreditations from both the Thread Group and the Zigbee Alliance.

The Zigbee Alliance and the Thread Group encourage companies to join both organizations to obtain access the Dotdot over Thread Specification and Certification programs and to interact with peers and leaders across the IoT industry. The Dotdot specification is available today to Zigbee Alliance members.

The Thread 1.1 specification is available on the Thread Group website. Both organizations are hosting the Dotdot over Thread, free webinar, on January 30, 2019. Also representatives of The Thread Group and the Zigbee Alliance will attend CES 2019.