According to Gartner, there will be nearly 26 billion devices on the Internet of Things by 2020. [wikipedia]. Where will all these devices be? Coffee Shops? In your car? At the grocery store? The answer is yes, yes, and yes. But the majority will be in your future Smart Home, and there are 4 major retailers banking on it. They are banking on many opportunities including the hardware, the software, and the (cloud based) subscriptions services. Who and what are they doing? Here is a brief synopsis of the current landscape as of 9/8/14:
Lowes – The “Iris Smart Home Management System” is the result of Lowes purchase of UK-based AlertMe. Lowes is first to the home improvement market with its own Smart Home system.
Home Depot – Finally (July 2014) HD comes to market with “Wink” to compete with Iris. HD has close to 60 products available right now that work with the Wink platform.
Google – The purchase of Nest, the resulting API, and the new communication standard called “Thread” have cemented Google as a major player vying to be the foundation of your future IoT laden household.
Apple – The HomeKit was recently introduced by Apple with iOS 8 which immediately set the stage that the Google vs Apple battle is coming to your house. Another signal was sent to the developer community for IoT and Home Automation tools that the industry is about the heat up very fast.
As a consumer its important to know that Home Automation is now a serious market with serious competition. Gone are the days of simple home appliance purchases, in the future your purchases (thermostat, door locks, electric outlets, baby monitor, home cameras, alarm systems) must be part of a well thought out home automation strategy chock full of different technical capabilities, integration with current investments, and varying sticker prices.