Google ready to rule smart things
By   |  December 21, 2016

Google’s Toolkit for Developers of Connected Objects is getting richer. The Mountain View company announced the improvement of the Weave communication protocol and the launch of the IoT OS based on Android.

Weave compatible with Google Assistant
Weave, originally reserved for Nest connected objects (the manufacturer of intelligent thermostats bought by Google in 2014), is now available for objects from other manufacturers. This communication protocol allows objects to communicate with each other and to exchange their status for better interactaction. Among others, Philips already uses this communication language for its Hue lamps as we previously discussed here, as does the start-up Smartthings (owned by Samsung). Google announced an update to Weave to allow integration of new families of connected objects and compatibility with Google Assistant.

Weave is a device-to-device communications protocol – which works sans WiFi — with famous initial launch partners such as P&G, GE’s branded lighting controls, Hunter Douglas, Philips Hue, iHome, and Lutron Electronics. The technology works with WiFi, but also with Thread (a protocol also backed by Google), for better reliability and security. The software stack uses the 6LoWPAN personal-area network technology, which is based on IEEE 802.15.4, a low-power wireless protocol that’s already in the market and uses the same chips as ZigBee, another low-power system. The stack also uses IPv6, the next generation of Internet Protocol, so every home device can have a unique Internet address. Networks will be able to accommodate at least 250 devices.

Android for IoT
Another major announcement is the public availability of Android Things, known thus far as project Brillo. As its name suggests, this is a version of Android specifically designed for connected objects. Developers will find the same tools as mobile development: Android Studio, Android SDK, Google Play Services, and Google Cloud Platform. With this familiar environment, developers will be encouraged to bring their applications from mobile to connected objects.

Google promises to update the OS regularly, with specific attention to security. It is also a real-time operating system (RTOS), where competition is tough with a myriad of alternatives: Contiki (available for free under BSD license), TinyOS from the Chinese giant Huawei, Nucleus RTOS from Mentor Graphics, via Embedded Software Division, Windows 10 IoT Core from Microsoft while ARM deployed its mbed OS solution. Development boards duch as the Intel Edison, the NXP Pico and the Raspberry Pi 3 are already mentioned as compatible with Android Things.

More info: Android Things

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