back to article Dotdot. Who's there? Yet another IoT app layer

Internet of Things bods at the Zigbee Alliance have unveiled what they are calling a “universal language” for IoT, dotdot. A rebrand and potential expansion of the group's existing application layer, Zigbee Cluster Library (ZCL), dotdot is now being touted by the alliance as the one true solution for getting different IoT …

  1. oldtaku Silver badge

    :/ :/ :/


    is pretty much my feeling about this.

    Sidenote: as usual a lot of tech blogs and tech 'news' sites are getting this hilariously wrong because Zigbee used the word 'language' - they think it's actually a new scripting language like Swift or Tcl instead of a set of C APIs and specs for common attributes and clusters to go with that. You can tell who's just mindlessly regurgitating the press release. Gareth is in the 1% who didn't.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: :/ :/ :/

      But the fact Gareth is spreading the word about this garbage removes him from that 1%. BTW, check your keyboard because it dropped the letter 'R' up there "... a set of CRAPIs and specs ..."

      "Fake News" for sure. Scary to think there is apparently at least 99 other people out there reporting this.

    2. MrJOD

      Re: :/ :/ :/

      I was going to give up on Haskell and move to ZCL on the basis of TFA. However, since it's just a protocol, maybe I won't.

      The fact that there's a closures specification looked especially exciting, but it turns out that this is to do with doors and blinds and won't help in using first-class function definitions.

      It's ideal for IoT though - no security at all (I suppose it is meant to sit in the transport layer, but really...). I'm looking forward to sending the Unlock Door command to all of my neighbours' networks.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: :/ :/ :/

        Well it'll save shouting "Siri/Alexa, open the front door" through the window to the iPad/Echo.

        That's the march of progress.

  2. David 132 Silver badge

    First thing that comes to mind is that old XKCD cartoon...

    Problem: There are 27 competing standards.

    "Hey, we should create a new unifying standard that meets everyone's needs!"

    Problem: There are 28 competing standards.

    1. CommodorePet

      Problem: There are 27 competing standards and no-one knows ours is the best

      Solution : Rename ours to something that no-one will be able to Google properly and tell everyone that it's coming in about 9-12 months.

      Result: Developers give up on the current standard because all the deep-linked online documentation became stale overnight.

      Didn't Google themselves already do this with Thread?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Except I can think of at least one example where that XKCD falls on its arse.

      Matroska is the god of media container formats, and really does unify everyone's use cases in an extensible way.

      Multiple streams infinitely variable multiplexing options, totally customizable subtitles, extensible metadata, all while being easy to parse, and not being bloated, Byzantine, or mired in legacy like preceding formats.

      1. Tom 38

        Re: .mkv

        Matroska is amazing, which is why its the gold standard for how videos are stored and delivered over the internet.....

        ...except it isn't, content creators/distributors tend to use one of MP4, MOV, or MPEG2 TS. The only place where matroska does have some ubiquity is in scene releases, and even there more and more things are coming in mp4.

        Seems to me that ties in perfectly with xkcd; the ISO standard that specifies the MP4 file format predates the creation of the matroska spec, but there were reasons why people didn't want to use MP4 (licensing) that made creating a new standard a good idea, and now we have two standards...

      2. Swarthy

        Re: .mkv

        Now if only any embedded player ("Smart" TV, console, or "media center" STB) could play .mkvs.

        Having said that, I love the standard, and have tried to find something that could store and play them onto a TV, without having to set up a dedicated PC as a media server.

  3. inmypjs Silver badge

    "One agnostic app layer to rule all of the connected gizmos"

    Was going to say shouldn't that read "One more".

    Reading further it seems it is only one more name for one of them.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "One agnostic app layer to rule all of the connected gizmos"

      The difference is that Zigbee has been doing stuff like this for quite a while, well before this IoT hype, so they are a leader in that market, and their standardization may be a good thing for IoT as a whole. They are as well-known as Arduino, if you're into the embedded device thing.

      1. DropBear

        Re: "One agnostic app layer to rule all of the connected gizmos"

        ...then again, if you're into the embedded device thing, you can quite likely also name the other 27 contenders, of which Zigbee is but one (one of the ones that failed to properly catch on, like, for real for the longest time now).

  4. gypsythief

    Somewhat ambiguous naming...

    Marketing Drone: And the name of our new thing is ...

    Boardroom Lackey: Well, come on, don't keep us in suspense! What's it called?

  5. Brian Miller

    Almost as bad as the artist who for a while wasn't known as Prince

    At least ZigBee is using ASCII characters for their new name, instead of a peculiar glyph.

    Yeah, it's the ZigBee Cluster(-fsck) Library. "ZigBee allows devices to last for years on a single battery." Now, would that be a size 10 button battery, or would it be an Optima yellow top?

    1. Androgynous Cow Herd

      Re: Almost as bad as the artist who for a while wasn't known as Prince

      That wasn't bad, it was brilliant. The Purple one believed he was being done dirty by his label, so changed his name to something almost completely unmarketable and completely unpronounceable. It worked, label eventually dropped him and then he went back to "Prince".

      There is a similar but very different story about two albums recorded by David Allen Coe when he wanted out of his contract. That worked, too, but now recording contracts have specific clauses to prevent these sort of "Complete creative control" ploys.

  6. DNTP

    But Without Market Fragmentation...

    …then how will manufacturers lock you into their brand, go bankrupt in six months from vulture capitalists looting the company for short-term gains, shut down the central server that all the devices need for privacy invading marketing "some reason", and force you to repurchase everything from the next IoT company?

    A common standard? Sounds like commonunism! Won't someone think of the children?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Where does the security of IoT things fit in with this?

    From the article about hacking 'smart' metres security in these things appears to be absent.

  8. Jonathan Richards 1

    Domain naming opportunity

    I suppose there's no chance that someone will decide to document the rush to implement this (ha!) at dotdotdash dot com, morse the pity.

    That still reads better than 'colonpipepipe', though, which has unpleasant overtones of, um, irrigation...

    1. Swarthy

      Re: Domain naming opportunity

      Looking at the logo on the Zigbee site, it looks more like "12".

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Maybe the logo should look like ..? Because nobody will understand what the hell it's supposed to be

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    -.-- --- ..- / ..-. ..- -.-. -.- .. -. --. / -. . .-. -.. / ---... -....- -.--.-

    -. --- .-- / --. --- / -.. -.. --- ... / ... --- -- . -... --- -.. .. . ... / .... .- .. .-. / -... .-. ..- ... .... / .-- .. - .... / -- --- .-. ... . / -.-. --- -.. . .-.-.-

    Good Luck!

    1. David 132 Silver badge

      Re: -.-- --- ..- / ..-. ..- -.-. -.- .. -. --. / -. . .-. -.. / ---... -....- -.--.-

      .... --- .-- / -.. .. -.. / ...- .. -.- .. -. --. ... / -.-. --- -- -- ..- -. .. -.-. .- - . ..--..

      -. --- .-. ... . / -.-. --- -.. . / .- .... .- .... .- .... .- .... .-

      (really, Register? I have to include actual ASCII letters for my post to be considered valid?)

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: -.-- --- ..- / ..-. ..- -.-. -.- .. -. --. / -. . .-. -.. / ---... -....- -.--.-

        The post is required, and must contain letters.

  11. AndGregor

    More Please

    I got lost with the marketing speak but hey, if I can get my front door talking to my wall safe, smoke alarm and oven at the same time, put them all on t'interweb then happy days.

    What could possibly go wrong..? (Shame they didn't mention Bluetooth, always a sure fire winner).

  12. GrapeBunch

    Naming opportunities

    We had the dotcom Bubble almost two decades ago. In a couple of years, I foresee a dotdot Explosion when our programming friends in unfriendly countries get up to speed on it. If you rapidly turn the electricity in one house on and off, hard to guess what might happen. But do it in a million houses at once, aye, there's the dotdot Explosion.

    1. GingerOne

      Re: Naming opportunities

      I don't know what country you're in but in the UK we have these things called fuses...

  13. ecofeco Silver badge

    Reduce confusion?

    I'm confused.

  14. steamnut


    This is more to do with the latest Bluetooth 5 release than anything else. I looked at Zigbee some years back; the stack was complicated and the library and tools costs were too high.

    Now, Bluetooth 5 is faster, has more range, low power options, beacons, larger broadcast messages and peer to peer possibilities so it is cutting right into Zigbee's territory. With Bluetooth stacks part of Android, Windows and Linux without special drivers then it is a no brainer.

    Yes, Zigbee does have star topology, multihop and meshing but, with longer range, there's nothing that Bluetooth 5 will not be able to do but for less capital and development costs...

    1. Bob Vistakin

      Re: Zigwhat?

      Those would have been my words exactly - you beat me to it.

      Oh, I usually add some microsoft piss take as well but seeing as they're further behind in IoT than mobile there's nothing relevant for me to go at.

    2. 806cat

      Re: Zigwhat?

      This is not the stack, it is the application layer. It can run on a ZigBee stack, Thread stack, virtually anything. The value is in defining the attributes, commands and device interactions relevant to applications. This takes years to develop and ZigBee have been doing this for years so it makes sense to take that knowledge and package it in a way that makes it suitable to run over any network.

    3. Infernoz Bronze badge

      Re: Zigwhat?

      Yes, I shunned Zigbee too, its a too damned expensive/bulky add-on for maker micro-controllers like the Arduino and Raspberry Pi.

      BT (especially mesh, eventually) will probably, eventually obsolete all other expensive/proprietary junk like Zigbee, Z-wave and Ant+ (for bicycle sensors), and get rid of the 'justification' for quite overpriced/limited proprietary controllers which could be replaced by cheap Android tablets/mobiles and Apps.

  15. toughluck

    Breaks technological ground, reuses old symbol

    I have an impression that this will repeat the "success" of all the other competing standards. The thing being it's n+1 competing standards now.

    1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      Re: Breaks technological ground, reuses old symbol

      And in Common Lisp it would be the empty keyword.

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