When Google purchased smart-device manufacturer Nest for $3.2 billion in early 2014, people predicted that the company’s stylish smoke detectors and other hardware would help accelerate the nascent Internet of Things (IoT) market.
Although Nest products continue to sell at a steady rate, the subsidiary has yet to produce a breakout hit on the scale of the iPhone or Tesla Model 3. Over the past few months, stories have also emerged about Nest’s internal management issues, which (according to a March article in The Information) sparked an “exodus of staffers.”
Nest isn’t down, but it needs to elevate its profile if it wants to become the Apple of the connected home. That might explain why the company just decided to open-source its Thread networking protocol.
“With OpenThread, Nest is making the technology used in Nest products more broadly available to accelerate the development of products for the connected home,” read Nest’s posting on GitHub. “The Thread specification defines an IPv6-based reliable, secure, and low-power wireless device-to-device communication protocol for home applications.”
Nest also posted information about OpenThread on Threadgroup.org.
For Nest, the benefits of OpenThread are clear. If other developers and companies embrace the protocol, it gives Nest more influence over the IoT landscape. But that all hinges, of course, on developers actually embracing (and tinkering with) the software.