Getty Images
These are independent reviews of the products mentioned, but TIME receives a commission when purchases are made through affiliate links at no additional cost to the purchaser.

As smart-home gadgets first proliferated, turning everything from light bulbs to thermostats high-tech, a problem emerged. Devices lacked a common language to connect to one another, resulting in frustrated homeowners and stifled innovation. So big tech companies got together to create a better standard: Thread, a wireless-mesh networking protocol that allows devices from different companies to communicate more reliably and using less power, saving battery life. Think of it as a connected home’s backbone. In July, the nonprofit Thread Group consortium—members include Apple, Amazon, Siemens, and Google—announced the latest version.

More Must-Reads From TIME

Contact us at

Augmented Job Training
Next-Level EV
Flash-Frozen Coffee to Go
Athletic Apparel for the Smartwatch Era
Meditate in the Metaverse