Nanoleaf to roll out Thread update for its light panels

Nanoleaf’s Shapes and Elements, two of the manufacturer’s latest lines of smart light panels, are finally poised to become Thread edge routers.

A company spokesperson told TechHive that it will release an update Thursday that enables Thread edge router functionality for Nanoleaf’s Shapes and Elements panels.

“There was a slight delay in updating the Thread Border Router,” the Nanoleaf spokesperson said Wednesday. “However, it will be available for iOS tomorrow morning.”

We are still waiting for news on when the update will be available for Android users.

The Thread update was originally scheduled for shortly after the Elements panels were released in June, but the update was delayed, first until July and then until August.

Both the Elements and Shapes light panels come with Thread spokes in their snap-in drivers. Until now, those Thread radios have been idle.

nanoleaf hexagon driver Ben Patterson / IDG

The drivers (shown here) for Nanoleaf’s Elements and Shapes light panels will soon act as thread edge routers.

Once the expected firmware update arrives on Thursday, the Thread radios in those Nanoleaf light panel controllers will become Thread edge routers, which can connect other Thread-enabled devices to the internet.

Previously, only two consumer-oriented products functioned as Thread edge routers: the second-generation Apple TV 4K and the HomePod mini. Google’s Nest Hub Max, the second-generation Nest Hub, and the Google Wifi Mesh Router They will eventually also be Thread’s border routers, but their Thread radios will remain idle for now.

An IP-based standard that is known for its stability and emphasis on security, Thread is a low-power, low-latency IoT protocol backed by Apple, Google, Samsung, Qualcomm, and other tech titans. Thread is also a mainstay of Matter, an exciting (but recently delayed) new smart home standard that promises to unite the ecosystems of Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit.

After a slow start, more and more smart products are starting to support Thread. Current Thread-compatible products include lights from the Nanoleaf itself. Essentials line, which includes a light strip and an A19 bulb. Both the Essentials bulb and light strip act as Thread routers, allowing them to connect other Thread-enabled devices together. However, only Thread border Routers can connect Thread devices to the Internet.

Eve Systems has also been turning on Thread support for some of its smart devices, including Eve Energy, a smart plug that doubles as a Thread edge router.

While the Nanoleaf Shapes and Elements light panels, or rather their controllers, will act as Thread’s edge routers, the lights themselves will continue to work over Wi-Fi, not Thread.

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