Google & The Thread Group’s Jonathan Hui, on the HomeKit Insider podcast – AppleInsider
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Jonathan Hui guests on the HomeKit Insider podcast to discuss history, unique projects, and what the future holds with Matter and Thread standards.
Sitting down with your hosts this week is Jonathan Hui, Principal Software Engineer at Google and VP of Technology at Thread Group.
Before getting to the interview, we discuss some brief news in the world of HomeKit. The Home Widget app was updated this past week to now support sensors, run Shortcuts without launching the app, and include new widget sizes.
LG also announced a new mobile touchscreen device that will support both HomeKit, as well as AirPlay 2.
Links from the show
Stephen Robles: If you could, Jonathan, maybe start out telling us about yourself and how you got to your current position, maybe at both Google and The Thread Group.
Jonathan Hui: You know, I got started in the space during undergrad. I was really curious about low-power wireless communications. This was kind of just before ZigBee, back in 2003, had come to market. Then when I got to grad school, I was doing more research in real power wireless.
At that time, everybody was saying, “well, low-power wireless has to be really low cost, low power. We have to do very specific things for specific applications.” And that’s how you got to these proprietary wireless systems that don’t integrate well with others and how we wound up with the hubs and everything today.
My primary research at grad school was what if we could just put all of this on the internet protocol or IP and have this become a general-purpose network. From there, I went to Cisco and worked on a lot of mesh networking for the smart grid, you know — having electric meters communicating wirelessly and reporting all your information.
And then around 2014, 2015, Nest had made this announcement that we’re starting this thing called Thread and were going to target the consumer space, and we’re going to do it on IP. That was just right up my alley. I needed to be a part of that.
I’m really interested in the consumer space because you know, the consumer space is always interesting.
So I joined Nest in 2015 at the same time as The Thread Group. Nest then got acquired by Google and that’s where we are today.
Stephen: So Nest, wasn’t a part of Google when you joined, correct?
Jonathan: Nest got acquired by Google in 2014-ish and I joined in January of 2015. So I joined shortly after.
But the whole Thread initiative was actually started within Nest before I joined and before Nest was a part of Google.
Andrew: I was all in with that early Nest stuff. I loved it so much. It was only after that acquisition by Google, that I finally had to leave Nest for another smart thermostat.
I felt like there was no way they were ever going to work with Apple and HomeKit. When Apple had announced their platform, as cool as this hardware is, who knows where this is going to go under the Google umbrella. So I had to break away from it.