Electronic Products & Technology

IoT standards bodies collaborate

Helps ensure a secure and interoperable IoT for the future

December 3, 2019  EP&T Magazine

The Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF), a leading Internet of Things (IoT) standards body, and the Thread Group, an alliance addressing interoperability, security, power, and architecture challenges at the network layer, announced the readiness of OCF-over-Thread. Developed by Cascoda, a leading manufacturer of IoT semiconductors, OCF-over-Thread is now a certifiable solution that simplifies the development of end-to-end products for smart home, and smart commercial buildings. The Cascoda solution offers built-in interoperability and scalable security controls for both large and small IoT applications. 

The Rising Tide of Collaboration Lifts All IoT Boats

This collaboration — across IoT groups, companies and their respective technologies — helps ensure security, scalability, and reliability for the future of the IoT.

OCF and the Thread Group partnered to confirm compatibility between OCF’s secure application layer and Thread’s low-power and scalable IPv6-based network layer protocol. Thread is built on open standards to create IEEE 802.15.4 mesh networks that can easily and securely connect thousands of devices.

OCF and Thread both address security and interoperability within the IoT, enabling seamless communications for both device-to-device and device-to-cloud. Thread’s mesh networks are reliable, with no single point of failure, provide immunity to interference, and will self-heal and reconfigure when a device is added or removed. Plus, all devices in a Thread network are authenticated and all communications are encrypted. With this foundation, the OCF-over-Thread solution supports encrypted communications between devices using Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) for authentication and has inherent continuous vulnerability management systems for rapid responsiveness.

Collaboration Extends Connectivity and Security

Cascoda led the development of OCF-over-Thread. In close cooperation with OCF and the Thread Group, Cascoda successfully configured OCF and Thread to work together through a Thread Border Router (an IP-Gateway based on OpenThread) and on ultra-low-power constrained IoT devices. Cascoda’s hardware includes a trusted execution environment (TEE), providing secure storage for the OCF PKI key and allowing only signed applications to run on the device. This is an emerging requirement for IoT hardware.

“Part of OCF’s mission is to enable a secure, open, interoperable IoT,” said John Park, executive director, Open Connectivity Foundation. “By partnering with the Thread Group and providing a streamlined solution such as OCF-over-Thread, we are ensuring that the industry can create, certify, deploy and maintain IoT devices and applications with security and interoperability in mind. Interoperability is key to the future of the IoT, and we look forward to continuing our work with the Thread Group to reach our common goal of unlocking the potential of the IoT.”

“While the Thread Group focuses on the networking layer and the OCF on the application layer, we both support low-power, open technologies to enable quick implementation,” added Grant Erickson, president of the Thread Group. “OCF-over-Thread is designed from the ground up to use very little power, enabling hundreds of battery-operated devices to maintain a secure, permanent connection to each other and to the internet for years.”

“After joining the Thread Group in 2015, Cascoda quickly grew to become a leading contributor to the standard, and we are currently the chair of the Thread Low-Power Working Group. Having certified Thread products, we then set about pioneering OCF-over-Thread,” said Bruno Johnson, CEO, Cascoda. “I am incredibly proud of our team, which established a highly productive working relationship with key OCF members, for driving this collaboration forward and achieving success in record time.”

Expedites Certification and Market Readiness

Using proven, open IoT standards, the industry can start to use OCF-over-Thread with little investment, completing products in as few as six months. Cascoda has recently shown live demos of OCF-over-Thread running on its Chili2 Module, a low-cost, pre-certified IP-based module, providing scalability, PKI and TEE security, more range, and lower power.

By providing free development tools and leveraging the pre-certified OCF application layer and the Thread network protocol, product developers using OCF-over-Thread save time and money making their devices market-ready. Leveraging a complete, certified module such as the Chili2 Module, the manufacturers only need to certify their end products via the many global test labs certified to test OCF-over-Thread, including Allion in Taiwan, Dekra in Spain, and UL in Greater China.


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