The Nest Hub Max went on sale Monday as the largest Made by Google Smart Display and first with a Nest Cam. It’s also the “world’s first” publicly available “Built on Thread” device, with this support allowing for integrations between existing Nest smart home products.
On the Nest Hub Max, the “Built on Thread” support — 802.15.4 (at 2.4 GHz) — allows the Smart Display to pair with a Nest x Yale Lock, while extending the range of a Nest Secure system or dedicated Nest Connect plug.
At a high level, Thread is an open networking protocol that allows for direct device-to-device connection. It can also communicate with the web and works without “expensive, proprietary gateways.” Other benefits include security, and the low-power nature is ideal for resource-constrained gadgets.
Thread requires less power relative to comparable solutions, which improves the battery life of devices across its network. Thread’s self-healing mesh network delivers a reliable and robust network that is complementary to WiFi and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), which is critical to delivering on the promise of true IoT for consumers.
In the future, the Nest Hub Max will be compatible with third-party Built on Thread certified products. This is another way for devices to interoperate besides Assistant and the Local Home SDK announced at I/O 2019.
The Thread Group — which Google is a member of, alongside Apple, ARM, and Qualcomm — touts “rigorous specification compliance and interoperability testing to become the first certified and publicly available Built on Thread device.” The “first” comes from how previous certifications have been for components, and not actual consumer-facing devices.