ZigBee has developed an IoT language it's calling dotdot

(Image Credit: ZigBee Alliance)

Do you speak dotdot? I don't, at least not yet.

ZigBee has announced the development of a 'universal language for the IoT' which it's calling dotdot, and this week at CES the alliance has been showcasing the first prototypes of products speaking it. 

The examples on display are based on the network protocol Thread yet use ZigBee's dotdot language to communicate – proving the language is not restricted to ZigBee products. At the booth you will find dotdot prototypes from various vendors, including thermostats, lights, window blinds and sensors. 

More than 400 companies now build ZigBee devices and dotdot is based on the ZCL (ZigBee Cluster Library) which existing products use. The alliance says this makes the language more capable than other application layers. 

While dotdot can speak with Thread devices – which use the same underlying IEEE 802.15.4 radio technology – ZigBee isn't settling with this and hopes to extend support to other 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. “Recognizing the value of the evolving application layer that has been the core language of ZigBee devices for over a decade, market leaders within the alliance have come together to transform it into a universal language for the IoT.” 

Eventually, dotdot could evolve into handling tasks such as device discovery around the home or workplace due to how universal IP is. Supported networks could include WiFi, Bluetooth, Ethernet and NB-IoT (Narrowband IoT). 

Manufacturers have been seeking this kind of network support in order to move their products forward with confidence. 

“Silicon Labs and our customers have succeeded in the IoT because of the scalability of ZigBee's interoperability technology. As customers look to grow into new markets, there has been a strong demand to use the ZigBee application layer on other networks," said Skip Ashton, VP Software at Silicon Labs, a leading provider of ZigBee, Thread, and other connectivity technologies.  "And in fact, since the ZigBee alliance’s announcement of its intention to do so, we’ve seen a significant increase in adoption of ZigBee because developers now know that their investment in the large ZigBee market today will expand into new markets with dotdot. We’re excited to be participating in its development, and to support customers looking to build with ZigBee and dotdot.” 

The alliance hopes to certify the first dotdot products later this year. 

Do you think ZigBee's language will help to unify the IoT? Let us know in the comments. 

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