Since Google’s purchase of Nest Labs back in January ($3.2bn), the subject of smart home automation has taken somewhat of a back seat in the public eye. Apple’s high profile acquisition of Beats Electronics is now inked in the record books and attention now turns back to the battle for in-house technological supremacy.
One could be forgiven for thinking that Nest’s price tag was a little high. For a futuristic thermostat and a digital smoke alarm, the valuation seemed questionable. With this technology however came Tony Fadell, the tech mastermind who worked alongside Steve Jobs to develop the entire iPod series and eventually the iPhone. Interestingly, the Nest Learning Thermostat (Nest’s flagship product) was originally exclusive to the Apple store, showing just how strong the relationship between the two used to be.
Fadell recently proclaimed “over the next ten years, everything that has a cord is going to have data in it”.
With 60% of the average household’s energy output being down to heating, Nest seem to have hit the nail on the head in terms of practicality and relevance with their first foray into the home market. Simultaneous collection of data from inside the home will provide Nest with real time feedback and serve as yet another string to Google’s data bow.
Apple on the other hand have been developing iBeacons, a low power bluetooth location technology, which looks set to provide adaptive systems which will control essentials such as domestic security, garage doors, curtains and heating. A new and improved Apple TV and Siri should mean entire automated home solutions are no longer a figment of a Sci-Fi imagination. The effectiveness of their in-car technology CarPlay should serve as an example of their home automation aspirations.
Fadell has openly expressed that he wishes to keep Nest as it’s own company and has no plans to steer Nest products away from Apple and IOS users. He did however state that the presence of Nest products in Apple stores in the future was a “decision Apple has to make”. With Samsung’s SmartHome app also looking strong, the race into the modern household looks like it’ll be a close one. As developments across car, home and portable devices all grow simultaneously, the scope for innovation grows exponentially. Location technology will provide the user with convenience and also businesses with invaluable data streams and the opportunity for location based advertising. Seamless synchronisation across platforms is key. Clean execution will decide this race.