ON World

Analyst Insight:
What The Latest Thread Update Means for Smart Homes

In a significant milestone for the upcoming Matter standard, the Thread Group has released its latest update to its wireless mesh network protocol, Thread 1.3.0. The key achievement of this update is to enable seamless connectivity and integration for smart homes and buildings without requiring expensive, complex dedicated gateways.

Specifically, Thread 1.3.0 has several updates for Thread Border Routers, the devices that connect Thread networks to other IP-based networks. Traditionally, these were dedicated gateways but, today, Border Routers are increasingly being built into multi-purpose devices such as smart speakers, WiFi access points, smart TVs and even end devices such as security cameras and smart thermostats.

A few of the new features in Thread 1.3.0 are the following:

• Enable Matter end devices to use any certified Thread Border Router
• Seamless integration of Thread devices in existing IP network infrastructure • Simplified in-field firmware updates

ON World’s recent surveys with 3,700 online consumers who are either current smart home users or interested in smart home technologies found that one third would like to have whole-home automation. Another interesting finding is that 42% of the respondents who has not yet purchased a smart home product would prefer to NOT use a hub.

Although this was not stated in the question, we interpret this to mean they would prefer to not have a dedicated hub which to them means a redundant expense and added complexity. The latest Thread update and upcoming Matter standard addresses these consumer concerns and preferences while simplifying product development for vendors and accelerating opportunities for the entire smart home ecosystem.

Enter "Stealth" Hubs

Many existing multi-purpose products already have the required hardware (IEEE 802.15.4 chipset) to support smart home automation. Many of these currently use wireless mesh network protocols such a Zigbee or Thread and will likely support the Matter standard when this is released later this year.

A few examples include certain models of eero’s distributed Amazon’s Echo 4th generation, Echo Plus and Echo Studio smart speakers as well as the Echo Show 10 smart display. Also, Google’s Nest WiFi system (routers, smart speakers and beacons) and the Nest Hub Max as well as Apple’s HomePod Mini and smart TV 4K are all smart home hub capable. 

Within the next six years, there will half a billion households with smart speakers and/or distributed WiFi networks and we predict that over 60% of these will have smart home hub functionality. 

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About ON World:
ON World provides market research and business intelligence on Internet of Things (IoT). Since 2003, our research reports, datasets and customized research services have been used by Fortune 500 companies, investors and developers worldwide to advance IoT solutions in hundreds of industries. 

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 7/25/2022