Thursday, December 20, 2012

Apple, Google, Microsoft Possibly Interested In Same Home Automation Startup

Source:  AppleinsiderWSJ.

While I hate to report on rumors, I kinda want to take this up because of the implications for not only mobile, as you will see, but how we live our lives going forward.  The WSJ is reporting that Apple is interested in acquiring a home automation company started up by Blake Krikorian.

You might not know who BK is but you’ll know his previous work:  the SlingBox, which I’ve got two of.

So, the story goes that Apple is interested in acquiring the company Group R2 Studios.  However, both Google and Microsoft are also interested.  So far, R2 has only an Android app.  It’ll be interest to know what is it that has three of the biggest mobile, cloud, and computing companies on Earth so interested.

What’s worth noting is that Microsoft has made some wave into the living room with Xbox while Google is dominating with Android units sold. However, it’s Apple that has third party gears, albeit only a few, that can be referred to in any home automated manner.

The Nest Thermostat comes to mind as some LED light bulbs.  But that hardly qualify Apple has having any expertise in this area.  Or anyone else for that matter.

And on the market, I’ve seen a few WiFi monitoring devices and locking mechanisms.  I reckon that anyone that comes from Apple, Google, or Microsoft will be much more comprehensive.  And if the WSJ report is true, look for the mobile war currently being waged and won by Google to move to the housing market as well.

There will come a time when homebuilders will have to consider the type of technology that they incorporate into homes.

Here’s the interest part about inviting these three companies into your home.  On one hand, you’ve got Google.  You will probably have to let it know everything that you do around the home.  Maybe ads?  And as for Microsoft, imagine trying to get into the home only to have your system crash on you – bad times to have the runs.  Or Apple’s walled garden?  Literally.

All kidding aside, I’m sure these three companies, probably Samsung, and a few others also have designs on the home automation market.  I figure green tech and conservation will also play a big part as well.

It’ll be interesting to see where this all leads.  You can bet on a few issues that will matter. Privacy is will start off this list.  So will ease of use – what’s the point of home automation if your home won’t let you in or out of the house or if you can’t figure out how to control the environment in the family room but make it different in the kitchen.

What do you think?  Which of these companies will have what it takes to create the ultimate home?

There isn't a whole lot of information specific to R2.  It's quite possible that all this is nothing but patent grabs as well.

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