Vice President, Rational Continuous Engineering Solutions
IBM Software Group
It is hard to miss the progress that the consumer Internet of Things world has gone through in the last year. You can't walk into a hardware or electronics store without bumping into smart locks, lights and thermostats. But, these are all still generally single function devices. To really make these things work for us, we have needed standardization, not just at the protocol level (wifi, zigbee, Z-Wave, etc) but at the service level. We need to be able to weave these devices together so they interact and support the way we live.
Google and Apple are both making big moves in this space. Apple had previous announced their Home Kit as an integration platform. But, this week, Google has made two big moves that we should all watch. First, they acquired Dropcam which will provide eyes and ears for the homeowner (and maybe for other services) into your home. Of course that sounds scary, but it is also powerful if properly managed. It enables a degree of remote presence in our home which would help while traveling or monitoring pets or loved ones who need help. Second, they announced a platform play where Google is turning the Nest thermostat into a hub for home automation. The "Works with Nest" certification would enable a new level of integration between all the IoT devices in your home. There are other hubs, but they are all from bit players without the influence to generate a true ecosystem.
When you consider Nest operating as a hub (using it's motion, temperature, smoke, and CO sensors) linked with Dropcam, smart locks, smart appliances, wearable Android devices (Android Wear is coming), smartphones, and even home entertainment (Chromecast), you start to see the home of the future unfolding before our eyes, What was science fiction in 2011 will be sitting under Christmas trees in 2014!