The group says dotdot takes the IoT language at Zigbee’s application layer and enables it to work across different networking technologies.
This is important because currently, most IoT devices don’t speak the same language, even if they use the same wireless technology. The result is an Internet of Things that is often a patchwork of translations done in the cloud. And platform and app developers must maintain a growing set of unique interfaces for each vendor’s products.
The Zigbee Alliance was founded in 2002, and it now boasts more than 400 members. The alliance created a low-power, wireless mesh networking technology for connectivity. And in 2007 it released an open language for IoT that supports hundreds of diverse smart devices in homes and businesses.
The Zigbee Alliance has already been working on dotdot with the Thread Group, another nonprofit. Thread’s IP networks connect smart home devices.
Both Zigbee’s wireless mesh network and Thread’s IP network are based on the IEEE 802.15.4 standard. But that isn’t a requirement for dotdot to work.
Is dotdot Necessary?
Jahangir Mohammed, the general manager of Cisco’s IoT group, Jasper, has said, “If you have 100 devices, you probably have 99 operating systems. It’s sheer fragmentation.”
“The Zigbee dotdot language could certainly help with that fragmentation,” writes Robb Henshaw, head of global communications for IoT Cloud at Cisco Jasper, in an email to SDxCentral. “There is still a need for a common language that will enable all devices to communicate, so with dotdot the Zigbee folks are tackling the right problem.”
“Over time, the industry will likely see one of these groups/languages emerge as the victor,” says Henshaw.
Cisco Jasper likes to set itself apart from groups like Zigbee, which it considers oriented for consumer products as opposed to enterprise-grade and industrial equipment.
“The dotdot announcement actually doesn’t have any impact on Cisco Jasper,” says Henshaw. “Our IoT platform is an automated connectivity management platform, and the application language(s) used don’t matter to us, as we’re agnostic in that sense.”
Although it’s true the Zigbee Alliance has made a name for itself in consumer IoT products, the group’s members do include companies such as Huawei and Schneider Electric, which do industrial IoT.