Nest Expands IoT Protocol To Third-Party Devices

What Happened
Earlier today, Google’s Nest Labs introduced a new device-to-device communications protocol called Nest Weave for its low-energy IoT protocol Thread, which was first announced in July. Initial launch partners include P&G, GE, Hunter Douglas, Philips Hue, iHome, and Lutron Electronics. Nest Weave, which can work without Wi-Fi, is a proprietary application protocol that Nest has been using within its own products. Now with this expansion, Nest Weave will use Thread to allow third-party devices to communicate with Nest products.

What Brands Need To Do
By extending the reach of its Nest devices to third-party devices, Google is looking to take the lead in the nascent market of connected home devices and create a holistic ecosystem that plays by its rules. Recently, some new connected home devices, exemplified by Amazon’s Echo, signal the vast possibility for brand integration in the smart home space. Therefore, brands looking to reach consumers at home should take advantage of this new IoT communication protocol, and start learning how to navigate a more unified and interoperable experience within the connected home.


Header image credit: promotional image from Nest

Source: VentureBeat

The Home Platform: Connectivity, Commerce, & Culture

In two weeks, Apple is expected to announce a new Apple TV set-top box, but this will be more impactful than just an upgrade to their “hobby”: the new device will serve as the cornerstone in Apple’s emerging IoT strategy. There’s a mounting battle for control of our homes, and entertainment plays to Apple’s home field advantage.

An Apple TV App Store will let a thousand streaming services bloom, and a new OTT slim channel bundle will debut in the spring. A key component of the entertainment platform will be a video-focused expansion of iAds, a turnkey solution for ads within any TV app, targeted using Apple’s rich user data. Entertainment will be the Trojan horse that gets Siri, HomeKit, and HandOff into our living rooms making the new Apple TV an always-listening hub, and providing a beachhead for connected devices within our homes.

After living with an Amazon Echo, I can attest to the significant appeal of an always-on voice interface. The Echo, and Alexa, are strong entry points into the home for Amazon, especially with an open API, and near-weekly updates to its capabailities. But because Amazon is operating largely outside the smartphone ecosystem, Alexa can’t send a text, or pause Netflix when someone calls — troublingly, she’s even disconnected from Amazon’s Fire TV. Apple and Google’s existing ecosystems will help, here, in ways that Amazon will struggle to match.

What Amazon does have, though, are millions of products, and Alexa can help you buy them. That’s convenient, but it belies Amazon’s even simpler vision for shopping, the Dash platform. Comprised of both a set of buttonsand an API, Dash allows you to purchase household staples with the tap of a button — a button which will eventually be subsumed into our devices directly, allowing them to re-order supplies as needed. It’s a critical component of our connected home which Amazon is uniquely positioned to deliver. But when coffee buys itself, brand loyalty takes on a whole new meaning, and CPG companies will need to spend mightily to acquire users up front, before a competitor becomes the default.

We also just gained some clarity into Google’s plans for the connected home. Despite having several TVproducts, as well as an entire line of home devices in Nest, Google has launched the OnHub wifi router, which also supports several connected home protocols. On is a new home brand for Google, with the Hub being the first product. With Nest providing ad-free, premium devices, On is free to experiment with lower cost options that are subsidized by advertising. It might work like Kindle Special Offers: pay full price, and use your network like any other, or have Google outfit your entire connected home at a discount, and allow On Hub to serve targeted ads based on the browsing behavior of each device on your network.

From fifty thousand feet, our admirals are moving their troops into position for the coming battle: Google wants to getting you and keeping you online, so the cornerstone of their home platform is a router. Amazon is tackling the home directly with the Echo, and through commerce with the Dash platform. And Apple, with a business built on taste and culture, is entering the home through entertainment. Notably absent is Microsoft, whose strategy whiplash with the Xbox One has left them without a foothold in the connected home, and Facebook, who will likely be content to ride Apple and Google’s coattails, at least for the time being.

With starting positions in connectivity, commerce, and culture, we’re about to witness a fierce battle to define the connected home, and, in a larger sense, what “home” itself will come to mean in the future.


A version of this story originally appeared on MediaPost IoT Daily.


What You Need To Know About The “Home” App in iOS 9

Read original article on: 9to5Mac

A new report has surfaced regarding the upcoming iOS 9 ‘Home’ app. Just as Apple used the HealthKit framework to create the Health app as a highlight in iOS 8, HomeKit will rely partly on this new Home app to securely manage a connected home full of accessories and data.

Sources claim that Apple is planning to officially unveil the new Home app alongside iOS 9 at WWDC early next month. The primary functionality includes:

  • Utilizing the new Apple TV as a hub to connect all of the HomeKit devices
  • Wirelessly discovering and setting up compatible HomeKit devices
  • Creating a virtual map of rooms in the home to easily organize and connect devices supporting HomeKit.
  • Offering a series of screens to help users find new HomeKit devices and apps.

As an increasing number of devices and home appliances become connected to form the Internet of Things, brands should be aware of the opportunities these emerging media platforms could provide. We are already seeing cable companies enter the smart home space, and as the smart home market starts to take off, we expect to see some more players getting in on the action.


Cable Companies Also Want A Piece Of That Smart Home Pie

Read original article on: Fortune

When it comes to the smart home market, tech companies like Apple and Google seems to be enjoying an early lead with their smart home hubs like HomeKit and Nest-based platform. But cable companies such as Comcast and Time Warner Cable, already controlling the home wireless network of millions, are also making a play for the market as well.

Earlier this year, Time Warner Cable partnered up with BestBuy to give customers of its security-focused IntellegenceHome service a better deal on smart home devices. And now, Comcast announced their Xfinity home platform, controlled by a branded tablet under monthly lease, is now supporting the connected home gears from its new partners, which include Nest, August (locks), and Rachio (sprinklers), and Lutron (lighting).

Furthermore, the cable behemoth is also planning to expand its smart home offering later this year with a SDK, which would developers to create officially sanctioned services using the Xfinity system. As the smart home market starts to take off, we expect to see some more players joining in the ring before it solidifies.

On Trend: Interoperability Within The Connected Home

Devices within the connected home may work well in isolation, but companies are still working to enable their connected home products to link up and work together.

Staples launched the Staples Connect System in 2013 and voiced that a number of connected home products showcased at CES 2015 were compatible with their platform. Similarly, Lowe’s smart home control system, Iris, announced their new partnerships with device companies such as First Alert, Honeywell, Schlage, and Whirlpool at CES. This consolidation is made possible through open communication protocols like WiFi, Z Wave, ZigBee and Bluetooth. Consumers will soon be able to take advantage of this seamless interoperability experience as we begin to see new partnerships and gadgets hitting the market.

The value of the connected home has also been heavily focused on mobile experiences, which can be convenient when managing your devices outside home. When inside, however, consumers may be interested in utilizing simple software configurations that allow you to access and control connected home devices from one hub installed within the house. Flipping a light switch has now evolved into controlling an entire lighting system with one touch. A software-defined switch can also have multiple actions associated with it such as setting the alarm system while simultaneously locking the doors. The connected home will become an ecosystem of multi-tasking with the incorporation of this technology.

With software-defined interfaces programmed into the home and numerous partnerships forming between gadgets and companies, a more unified and interoperable control experience within the connected home is on the horizon.

How Nest Thermostat Will Pay For Itself In Two Years

Read original story on: TechCrunch

Based on three separate studies of longitudinal data, Nest reports that its connected thermostat could pay for itself in less than two years from heating and cooling savings. The Google-owned smart-home manufacturer claims that “a correctly programmed thermostat can save about 20% on your heating and cooling bill”, and is also looking to implement algorithms that will make its thermostat better at responding to changes in temperature and anticipating future usage.

By The Numbers: Which Room Gets The Smart Home Devices

One of the major market trends we observed at CES 2015 last month was that the connected home is quickly becoming a reality. Smart home device shipment in the U.S. market is projected to grow nearly 74% from 20.7 million units to 35.9 million in the next 3 years, while the smart home controllers doubling its shipment.

US Smart home devices 2014-17

As rising product availability and mobile compatibility are readying home automation and monitoring to happen in every room of the house, which room will receive the priority of getting connected?

smart home by rooms U.S. female houseowners

According to a recent Better Homes and Gardens survey of U.S. female homeowners, it’s the shared family spaces like the kitchen and living room that takes the priority. In contrast, private spaces such as the bedroom or bathroom are less likely to be equipped with smart home devices.

Privacy concerns of connected devices

And it’s not hard to see the key reason behind such disparity—privacy concerns of connected devices are the number one reason that’s keeping smart devices from entering every room. Over 80% of U.S consumers worry about data security, according to a recent poll conducted by TRUSTe, as a majority believe they should own the data collected by smart devices. Overall, this means that brands in the connected home market need to do a better job at explaining the way personal data is collected and securely used to provide more benefits for the homeowners.

**All charts are taken from eMarketer.

Event Recap: Fall 2014 IoT Fair

The evolution of the IoT has transformed the way people interact with physical objects in their everyday life, and how these objects interact with other devices like sensors, smartphones, and tablets. The Fall 2014 Internet of Things (IoT) Fair was a great way to experience products from both established and early stage companies. Each company demonstrated their solution, trade-show style, to roughly 500 enthusiastic IoTers. The companies spanned across several categories, but these stood out:
  • Basic6 gives users a cloud-based infrastructure for real-time monitoring, deployment, and management of IoT devices.
  • Kinsa uses a smartphone-enabled thermometer to monitor symptoms and track illness for users and their doctors.
  • Ottomate reduces a home’s electrical cost through its self-programming home automation system.
  • Octopart allows engineers and part buyers to easily access part information, design, manufacturing, and cost through its search engine.
  • Bluesmart gives travelers the ability to locate, lock, and weigh their suitcase directly from their smartphone.

As consumers get more comfortable using smart devices we expect more such platforms to enter the market.


Edyn Will Make Your Garden Smart

Last week’s Internet of Things week tackled the Connected Home and the Connected Car, but what about the Connected Garden? Edyn is trying to make that a reality with a garden device that tracks everything from light and temperature to moisture to help you know when to plant, how often to water and more. Given the focus on sustainability, Edyn could offer brands some value on the platform with eco rewards, recommendations or even providing content that would bring a more human element to the automated notifications.

At the end of the day, all these devices bring the same promise of removing intuition to help you make data-driven decisions and change behavior. Is the world ready for the connected garden or is this high tech gadget incongruous with the natural gardener?