These days, almost anything for the home can be automated. Door locks, window blinds, switches, toasters—all are available as "smart devices" connected to the Internet of Things (IoT). Despite this bevy of products, they can’t all work together.
As a group of 400-plus member companies creating products with the Zigbee wireless protocol, Zigbee Alliance already connects a wide variety of home automation products. Their language, Dotdot, is designed to connect products using any internet protocol network.
Currently, IoT devices don’t use a universal language or “application layer” even if they use the same wireless technology. As a result, the IoT is fragmented. Zigbee Alliance says it is often “a patchwork of translations done in the cloud,” which complicates tasks and reduces reliability.
According to PCWorld.com, Dotdot will help products using different languages communicate, telling each other what they are and what they can do. For example, if you want a light fixture to turn on whenever the front door is opened, the door lock must know that the light exists, and be able to send information and commands to it. Zigbee intends for Dotdot to be the language that lets the lock and the light exchange this information.
Other languages do exist and are competing for widespread popularity, however, Zigbee is already in use on a large scale. Dotdot is an expansion and rebranding of the Zigbee wireless protocol—ZigBee Cluster Library—which is used on more than 100 million smart devices.
In a press release, Zigbee Alliance President and CEO, Tobin Richardson, said, “The application layer that is the core language of Zigbee devices has driven significant growth in the IoT. Recognizing the opportunity to multiply that growth for members and the industry, market leaders within the alliance have come together to transform it into a universal language for the IoT, making it available to everyone, everywhere, across their network of choice.”
Zigbee Alliance announced Dotdot on Jan. 3, 2016 and will showcase early demonstrations of Dotdot products in both the Zigbee Alliance and Thread booths at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show held Jan. 5–8.
The first Dotdot certified products are expected as soon as late 2017.