Hardware, Software & the Internet of Things
June 23–25, 2015 • San Francisco, CA

Platforms, devices, and interoperability in the smart home

Chris Boross (The Thread Group)
2:05pm–2:45pm Thursday, 06/25/2015
Heavy Industry/Intelligent Enterprise
Location: Fleet Room (Bldg D)
Average rating: ***..
(3.50, 2 ratings)

Prerequisite Knowledge

• An interest in connected home technology • A desire to learn more about smart home functionality


We’re entering a new era of connected products for the home, with Parks Associates estimating that by 2020, 50% of U.S. broadband households will have at least one smart home device. While more products in the home are becoming “smart” – from light bulbs, thermostats, door locks to washing machines – getting these devices to communicate is a formidable challenge that hinders the connected home’s widespread adoption.

This session, presented by Chris Boross, president of the Thread Group and technical product marketing manager at Nest, will outline these obstacles, as well as what’s needed to achieve interoperability and a seamless connected home experience. He will also discuss the industry as a whole, including the alliances and consortiums and the established protocols and standards that have emerged.

Some of the challenges that Chris will discuss include:

  • Improving network architecture. Getting multiple devices to communicate and work together properly is a formidable challenge, and overcoming this is a key to the success of the IoT. While WiFi is an excellent technology, it doesn’t work with every use case. The connected home needs a second, reliable, and secure network that works with WiFi. Specifically, devices should connect to a cohesive, resilient, self-healing mesh network with no single point of failure.
  • Make it truly low power. The IoT concept depends on many small, difficult-to-reach devices relying on a single battery for years. Because of this, power failure can be hugely disruptive to the network. Low power is fundamental in delivering the real value of connected technologies.
  • Address security threats, proactively and aggressively. Security is paramount. It is crucial that connected technologies incorporate the appropriate security measures to product data and prevent malicious attacks. A good way to ensure security is to encrypt networks and provide additional security at network and application layers.

Should these difficulties be overcome, the opportunity for connected home technologies and products becomes that much greater.

Chris will also discuss the key players in the connected home space, including Apple’s HomeKit, Samsung’s SmartThings, and the Thread Group. How do they challenge each other and how will they work together? Will they be able to establish and launch a dominant standard for interoperability in the home?

During this session, Chris will address all the issues above, plus any questions that the session participants may have.

Photo of Chris Boross

Chris Boross

The Thread Group

Chris Boross is president of the Thread Group. He is also technical product marketing manager at Nest, overseeing technology partnerships and wireless networking technologies.

Previously, Chris was a senior product marketing manager at Broadcom, leading the company’s wireless networking, smartphone, and consumer products efforts in both the US and the UK. At Broadcom he managed business negotiations, launches, and product marketing for major consumer electronics manufacturers; and worked on a number of electronics standards including audio/video codecs, multimedia technologies, and wireless standards like 4G, 802.11 and Bluetooth.

Before that Chris was a marketing engineer at Alphamosaic, a semiconductor startup that provided low-power processors to consumer electronic manufacturers. Alphamosaic was purchased by Broadcom in 2004.

In his earlier career, Chris also held product management and developer positions for a number of technology companies.