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Google enters smart home market with another standard

Posted: 06 Jul 2015 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Google? smart home? Brillo? Internet of Things? AllJoin?

To see a world where a single standard exists for the smart home means to be patient, especially now that Google has joined the fray with its own offering. In more reasonable times, big companies would sit down together, agree on a standard and then enjoy the growth of the market. History has taught us that standard wars are expensive, not only for the losers but also for the winners. Also, these industry battles delay market growth because product makers and consumers decide to wait.

Apparently we have not learned that lesson. In our high potential, high growth smart home sector, the big players are refusing to work together to agree on standards. Instead, they prefer to slug it out in the market.

The line-up of smart home frameworks looks now as follows (in order of appearance): Qualcomm AllJoin, now donated to the AllSeen Alliance; Apple Home Kit, well, Apple can afford to ignore the rest of the world; Intel IoTivity, under the umbrella of the Open Interconnect Consortium; and Google Brillo, announced last week, in a Steve Jobs style performance, including an applauding audience of followers, who failed to ask what is new here and why we can't use what is already available.

Clearly Google's answer to the Apple Home Kit is past due, but now we have their answer and it is yet another standard.

At the same time as Google launched Brillo, they also announced Weave. Weave is a "smart thing application language," comparable to ZigBee's Cluster Library that has existed for years and has a tremendous amount of maturity.

Oddly enough, just a month earlier, the ZigBee Alliance and the Thread Alliance (also a Google/Nest initiative) announced a plan to connect ZigBee's Cluster Library to Thread's network layer, a step in the right direction of reducing standard and market fragmentation.

Someone must have thought the smart home was getting too simple, the market might start to grow too fast. Voila, a new application library is announced resulting in another big round of applause for Google.

The move adds a new dimension to the long battle between Apple iOS and Google Android smartphones. Now they can fight for the smart home as well. Home Kit is positioned as an extension of Apple's iOS, so Google's Android really needed a similar type of extension as well.

Competing software stacks for the smart home

Competing software stacks for the smart home are piling up.

In the midst of this industry conflict, one may wonder what is going to happen with the AllSeen Alliance and the Open Internet Consortium. The space covered and the number of application domains is very large, so a lot will depend on how well Google Brillo is capable of positioning itself in the market.

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