Who would have thought that the standard bearer of the Internet of Things (IoT
) wave would be a company that makes smart, connected thermostats and alarms? Yet indeed, Nest
announced the Nest Developer Program
with numerous partners that should lead to a rapid proliferation of Internet of Things (IoT) innovations and related products.
Call it the Google
bump if you will. Nest’s acquisition by the search giant brought with it a nearly unlimited amount of money, and now Nest is no longer just a cool-looking connected thermostat or a fancy smoke alarm; it’s becoming the center of an IoT ecosystem.
The “Works With Nest” program allows other companies to integrate their products with Nest in powerful ways. For example, Jawbone’s UP24 band knows when you wake up and will tell Nest to adjust the house temperature accordingly. Whirlpool’s washers and dryers can rely on the Nest thermostat to determine when you’re not home and will keep your clothes fresh and wrinkle-free even after a cycle is done until you’re back. Many brands of garage door openers talk to Nest to adjust the temperature when you’re home or away. Google Now
communicates with Nest--”OK Google, set Nest to 75 degrees”. Mercedes-Benz
has a feature that tells Nest when you’re coming home so the house is the right temperature when you arrive. Logitech
’s Harmony Remote
can now control your Nest Thermostat just as it does your TV or lights.
Obviously, many of these features pertain more or less just to being able to more intelligently adjust the temperature in your house, but don’t miss the forest for the trees. This is creating a network of connected devices in and around your home. Your car is effectively connected to your lights; your washer and dryer to your garage door; your remote control to your smoke alarm; and so on. And this is just the beginning.
Developer tools include APIs that access Home and Away states, smoke and CO alerts, and “peak energy rush hour events” (meaning times when energy use tends to spike). These APIs can be applied across multiple platforms including iOS, Android, and the web.
The glaring issue that many are thinking of right now, though, is security. Nest requires users to authorize any connections between devices via OAuth 2.0, and it uses SSL encryption. Further, Nest requires developers to be transparent about what data and information they’re accessing, and they are only allowed to hang onto certain types of data and only for so long (such as the last trailing 10 days).
That’s a start, sure, but does anyone think the above is enough to thwart a reasonably skilled and moderately interested hacker?
Still, the IoT trend seems to be gaining some traction. Google is, of course, behind the push--it and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers are funding the Thoughtful Things Fund to finance connected home technologies and products. But as more companies buy in, we’ll see an increasing number of IoT products that will gradually see us all living in connected homes.