IoT Strategies

Apple & Google: At War on the Home Front

Apple and Google aren't content with being the gateway to your smartphone, tablet and -- soon -- your car. The pair both now have eyes on your home.

The first products that support Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL)'s HomeKit home automation software, which controls household objects like lightbulbs and thermostats through an iPhone or iPad app or Siri voice activation, were unveiled Tuesday ahead of Apple's annual developers conference. The HomeKit software was launched by Apple a year ago.

Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), meanwhile, is building on its acquisition of Nest with its new Project Brillo operating system, aimed at Internet of Things (IoT) devices in the home and beyond. Google says that Brillo is based off the lower levels of Android OS and will be compatible with the Nest ecosystem.

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Why this matters
Despite a lot of hype around the Internet of Things, which means networking devices that weren't previously connected, from sensors to fridges, there is no agreed standard for connecting and controlling devices in the home yet. Apple and Google are ideally placed to move in this market by extending the reach of their respective smartphone operating systems.

As in the connected car and industrial IoT sectors, it is likely to be a long and competitive process -- stretching over years -- before the leaders and followers in smart home automation are established. Apple and Google, however, may be among the tech companies with the surest bets in that space, given the massive brand recognition they already enjoy among consumers.

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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