Nest, the smart home company that was recently acquired by Google, has launched a rebranded and improved product line. Its smoke alarm, thermostat and security camera are all a bit smarter now, and in most cases more sleek in design.
The devices aim to automate home management and save money and energy in the process, but, as Chris Taylor points out in a Mashable article, the infrastructure supporting them and other smart home devices remains a bit of a mess. Nest’s head, Tony Fadell, has asserted that Nest products will support Weave, Google’s forthcoming communication platform for its Brillo Internet of Things operating system; but as Taylor points out, that stuff isn’t going to be available even to developers until much later this year. And at this point, it isn’t even clear what exactly Weave and Brillo are – how they’ll interact with other devices from other companies, what communications they’ll facilitate, and so on.
The same can be said of the other IoT platforms starting to emerge, such as Samsung’s ARTIK line, which aims to provide the end-to-end architecture upon which IoT devices can run. But how will those devices communicate with the ones running on Brillo and using Weave? It’s unclear.
Taylor’s lament about a lack of standards for interconnectivity leads him to conclude that “a true Internet of Things may still be years away” – but we shouldn’t give up on it quite yet. Just as experts were starting to worry about the lack of any standards for the IoT, some standards started to emerge in the form of ARTIK and other companies’ offerings. And now we’re seeing cross-industry conglomerations like the AllSeen Alliance start to actively bring together competitors and rivals in the IoT to further develop standards. Millions of dollars are being invested into the IoT, and the many stakeholders are waking up to the fact that interconnectivity will be a requirement for success; consumers just won’t bother with IoT devices if they can’t actually communicate with each other. So while Nest may leave something to be desired right now, there’s no telling how quickly its strands are going to start weaving in with other offerings in the IoT.