ZigBee Alliance unveils universal language for IoT

by Brianna Crandall — January 20, 2017 — The ZigBee Alliance announced last week that from the CES 2017 show it was showcasing the path to a unified Internet of Things (IoT). Highlights focused on the growing momentum behind ZigBee (3.0) products and development solutions, and the alliance’s newly announced dotdot — the universal language for the IoT, making it possible for smart objects to work together on any network. Members of the ZigBee Alliance and Thread Group also showcased the first demonstrations of dotdot devices running over Thread’s IP-based networks.

Tobin Richardson, ZigBee Alliance president and CEO, stated:

dotdot represents the next chapter in the ZigBee Alliance’s continued commitment to create and evolve open standards for the smart networks in our homes, businesses and neighborhoods. The application layer that is the core language of ZigBee devices has driven significant growth in the IoT. Recognizing the opportunity to multiply that growth for members and the industry, market leaders within the alliance have come together to transform it into a universal language for the IoT, making it available to everyone, everywhere, across their network of choice.

Most IoT devices do not speak the same language even if they use the same wireless technology, explains ZigBee. The result is an Internet of Things that is often a patchwork of translations, adding complexity for developers and limiting users to single-vendor systems. The solution lies in a common, universal language between all IoT devices on any network, giving developers a common platform to innovate on, and users the freedom to choose products that work for them, says ZigBee.

Today’s ZigBee devices speak a common language. With dotdot, that language — the application layer at the heart of ZigBee technology — can be applied across other IoT networks. While others are addressing this challenge with new protocols still being drafted, or single-vendor solutions, dotdot is an open, mature technology supported by the ZigBee Alliance’s 400+ strong global membership and a diverse supply chain. This offers developers flexibility and speed in building their products and business today, says the group.

Skip Ashton, VP of Software at Silicon Labs, a leading provider of silicon, software and system solutions for the IoT, commented:

Silicon Labs and our customers have succeeded in the IoT because of the scalability of ZigBee’s interoperability technology. We’ve seen a significant increase in the adoption of ZigBee as developers recognize their investment in the established ZigBee market today will enable them to expand into new markets via dotdot.

The ZigBee Alliance will be announcing more details about dotdot, including specifications, certification and logo program, as 2017 progresses. Updates will be posted to speakdotdot.com. Companies and developers interested in getting early access or participating in dotdot’s development can join the ZigBee Alliance.