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Zigbee Alliance Unveils ‘Universal Language’ for IoT

At CES 2017, the zigbee alliance showcased what it described as “the path to a unified Internet of Things (IoT).”

At CES 2017, the zigbee alliance showcased what it described as “the path to a unified Internet of Things (IoT).” Highlights included the alliance’s newly announced dotdot—the “universal language for the IoT,” designed to make 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.

“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,” said Tobin Richardson, zigbee alliance president and CEO. “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 don’t speak the same language, even if they use the same wireless technology. The result is an IoT that is often a patchwork of translations, adding complexity for developers and limiting users to single-vendor systems. The solution is a common 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. 

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 technology supported by the alliance’s 400-plus global membership and a diverse supply chain. This offers developers flexibility and speed in building their products and business today.

“Silicon Labs and our customers have succeeded in the IoT because of the scalability of zigbee’s interoperability technology,” said Skip Ashton, VP of software at Silicon Labs, a provider of silicon, software, and system solutions for the IoT. “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.