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Dotdot 1.0 Enables Zigbee and Thread IP to Speak the Same Language

The Zigbee Alliance predicts the release of its new specification will unleash creativity in developers since it enables Zigbee-based home-automation and smart-lighting products to operate with IP networks, while Wi-Fi is the next potential interoperability target.
By Claire Swedberg

With the Dotdot application layer now added to Thread products, that connection can be made automatically between Thread and Zigbee devices. To assist this, the Zigbee Alliance uses its own existing commissioning mobile application, extended from the Thread commissioning application to include application-level configuration of devices on a Thread network. This mobile application, as well as the Zigbee Cluster Library, is now enabled to run over IP networks.

These efforts are a response to the recent growth in IoT deployments. When Zigbee was first released, the Internet of Things did not yet exist and companies were seeking vertical solutions that consisted of a wireless sensor system for a single use case. "They were built to serve a specific function alongside other technologies," Berrios explains. Since that time, the advent of the IoT has resulted in many Zigbee-based products using wireless networks to transmit data. Zigbee is commonly used in smart-home and automated-lighting deployments, and there is a more horizontal focus these days, in that companies are seeking more functionality available on the same network, utilizing a variety of technologies and application layers.

Throughout the past year, the Zigbee Alliance has been conducting testing of Dotdot 1.0 to ensure that the specification is complete. Several members have been testing the technology, Berrios says, and are expected to release lighting and consumer home-automation products later this year.

Once the testing with the Zigbee Alliance is complete, several member companies expect to expedite Dotdot over Thread product development. For those using a traditional IP-based network, Berrios notes, Dotdot 1.0 now serves as a standard application layer that a business can lay on top of that network.

The Zigbee Alliance has a roadmap that continues interoperability plans with other networks, Berrios says, adding, "We're in conversations with other networks that are not IP-based." The group is presently in talks with the Wi-Fi Alliance to enable interoperability with Wi-Fi devices. "Wi-Fi is ubiquitous," he states, "so by bringing our application protocol to that particular transport, we will get a wider audience."

As IoT solutions continue to proliferate, Berrios predicts, "It will be hard to have a single technology meet all real-world needs." He adds, "We feel Dotdot could be that first layer that unifies everyone speaking that language. That will unleash a wave of creativity."

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