Thread - a "new" home automation protocol

I’ve been researching Zigbee vs Z-wave and trying to decide which is more future proof for my home as I’m buying new devices.

Just when I start to think Z-wave is the way to go, I see that Nest/Google are seemingly forming a new protocol called Thread. Thread operates on the same frequency as Zigbee and Zigbee devices could technically be updated to work with Thread.

Here’s an article about it:

The interesting part, especially after other recent rumors is that they’re partnering with Samsung as well as Yale, etc

What do y’all think?

A protocol (or any standard for that matter) is only as good as its acceptance and support throughout the industry. Right now Z-Wave is clearly ahead of any other protocol in terms of device availability and interoperability.

From what I can tell, Thread is just a 6LowPan (TCPv6 over 802.15.4). It’s a fine protocol, but where’re the devices? There’s virtually none. Also, claims that Zigbee devices can be ‘updated’ to run Thread are grossly exaggerated. It’s true that the same hardware can technically run both protocols, but most of them are not field-updradable.

Here’s an old discussion on the subject:

This news came out right after the unsubstantiated single source rumor that Samsung was trying to buy Smartthings. It’s clear Samsung is actively trying to be a player. The other backers besides Samsung are fairly impressive. Nest apparently already supports Thread. It looks like a superior technology and certainly bodes well for the future of HA. Thread’s use of IPv6 introduces new opportunities around device communication, rich/media/audio/video functionality, and control. What if all your sensors could talk or record and remain much cheaper than Sonos? I expect it will be successful and we will see plenty of devices over the next couple years.

Personally, I just finished purchasing several more Z-wave and Zigbee devices which will continue to reliably suit my needs while newer technologies begin to take root. I am having zero issues with what z-wave provides today. It is actually pretty reliable good for most common needs. What matters to me most is the ability to customize apps so devices do exactly what I want them to. We have no idea yet how much app customization control the Thread based services will allow over the next couple years.

Generally I don’t believe in the theory of future-proofing much of anything these days. Get what you want for now and look for the best deals. Chances are you will want to upgrade or replace almost any techy device or system or even a car in 2 to 3 years anyway. Fortunately most HA devices are becoming relatively affordable. It will be interesting to watch the price points on Thread vs Z-wave devices in the near future. That may dictate our future actions more than anything else.

1 Like