Why I’m Not in a Hurry for a ‘Smart Home’ – WSJ

If you didn’t read it on Sunday, The Wall Street Journal sent columnist Christopher Mims to the home of SmartThings CEO Alex Hawkinson to get a tast of what ‘smart home’ living is like. Mims came away impressed – but also skeptical that the complexity of layering so much technology into our everyday routines is bound to have more bad outcomes than good ones. “Other than people who have very specific reasons to add automation to their homes, I have no idea why anyone would do it, even if the equipment were free…Even when smart-home technology works as advertised, the complexity it adds to everyday life outweighs any convenience it might provide,” he writes. As for the smart home ‘killer app,’ Mims quotes Hawkinson as saying that home security and monitoring seems to be the most promising application of smart home technology right now. Google’s acquisition of DropCam is just […]

Parsing Google’s Internet of Things Acquisitions

Google has gone on an acquisition tear in the last six weeks that has many tech industry watchers wondering about the company’s future direction – particularly when it comes to the Internet of Things.   Since the beginning of the fourth quarter, 2013, Google has acquired 14 companies with the latest, a $650 million buy of UK-based artificial intelligence software firm DeepMind Technologies hitting the wires yesterday. In addition to the DeepMind buy, Google spent $40 million on Flutter, a maker of gesture recognition technology and $23 million on FlexyCore, maker of the DroidBooster App for Android. Earlier this month, it plunked $3.2 billion down for super hot smart home gear maker Nest. Google’s size makes the exact amount spent on the other acquisitions is something of a matter of speculation. Google only has to disclose transactions that are deemed ‘material’ to the company’s finances – a number somewhere between $10m […]

Spark OS Nest

You Can Build An Open Source NEST Clone In One Day? Uh Oh!

I’ve been amazed at the herds of Johnny Come Lately’s who have glom’d onto the amazing Nest thermostat since Google purchased the company that makes it, Nest Labs, for a whopping $3.2 billion last week. Nest – and even its sister Protect smoke alarm – were hardly new, but that didn’t stop CNN from posting a ‘gee whiz’ video in the days that followed that had all the ‘we were here first’ excitement of a hand-held broadcast from the floor of CES. That – even though Nest is coming up on its third birthday and its cousin, the Protect, was released to considerable fanfare in October. The question for Google, of course, is ‘how is Nest really worth?’ I use one at my house, and I think it’s gorgeous and smart – but $3.2 billion? That’s why I was interested to check out this article over at about an open source […]

hands holding earth

What Will 2014 Bring For Internet of Things? Some Thoughts.

As we’ve noted before, The Internet of Things is figuring prominently in both year-end round ups and year-end predictions. Many technology pundits saying that the IoT and security issues related to Internet-connected devices will be a major trend to watch this year. Here are some interesting takes on what 2014 holds for The Internet of Things. Better Design (Wired)  While superbly designed products like the NEST Thermostat get much of the attention when folks talk about the potential of The Internet of Things, good design isn’t a prerequisite for making a “smart” device – nor is it even that common in the nascent IoT, as a casual reading of some of our coverage will show you. But good design – or at least better design – that includes robust security will be necessary if the IoT market is to mature. That’s the argument Jermoe Nadel makes in this article on […]

Two Faces of the IoT: A Conversation With Xively’s Philip DesAutels

Conversations about the Internet of Things often focus on its most visible outposts: consumer devices. Products like the Nest Thermostat, IP-enabled home security cameras or Samsung’s Smart TV are like ambassadors for the IoT: highlighting cool features and capabilities that just hint at the transformative power of the much larger revolution that small, powerful Internet-connected objects will herald. The truth is that although consumers are still warming to the Internet of Things, businesses and industry have already embraced it. Manufacturers of heavy equipment have outfitted their products with an extensive mesh of small sensors that provide close to real-time data on the functioning of critical components. As a measure of this, Virgin Airlines said in March that it will upgrade its network infrastructure to accommodate an “explosion” of data from a new fleet of Boeing 787 Jetliners, which will produce close to half a Terabyte of data per flight. But what is […]