Google’s $3.2 billion acquisition of Nest, the creator of the wildly popular smart thermostat and now smoke detector, might just be the biggest news we’ve heard yet in this young New Year.
Google, as we are all aware, is on its way to being the world’s largest holder of internet-based technology. Having started as the first comprehensive Internet search engine, there are entire generations who only know Google as a world leader and online dominator but few are aware of their many investments in other technology realms such as the “Internet of Things.”
The Internet of Things is an idea where an object, say a thermostat, was equipped with a radio frequency or cell identifier can be managed by a computer. Nest figured that out awhile ago and while using this concept they decided to place the computer right inside the thermostat. Add a little bit of market creation through creative marketing and suddenly everyone has decided they need the Nest [or something like it] because of its off-the-shelf availability, attractive packaging and overall newness.
There really are two answers to the question I posed earlier. “What’s Nest got that Google doesn’t?” Well, for starters they have $3.2 billion cash. That may only be a drop in the bucket for Google as forbes.com lists them as number 5 on the World’s Most Valuable Brands, but make no mistake, they see the opportunity to integrate the Nest technology and branding into an already large network of connected or connectable devices. And that’s the second answer to my question.
Currently Nest has two flagship devices. The Nest Thermostat and the Nest Protect. The thermostat has taken its share of lumps from professional HVAC installers and technicians over the last three years but its $249 price tag hasn’t hindered its gain in popularity much. Add to that a smart smoke and carbon-monoxide detector that offers voice alerts, hand motion controlling and a set of internet control functions and you’ve got two pieces to the everyday gadget puzzle Google would like to offer you under their umbrella.
It doesn’t stop at thermostats and smoke detectors, hell it didn’t even start there. Home security systems have long been operating as a home network with the capability of not only monitoring your home or building but also offering freeze alarms, water leak sensing, the control of lights and the ability to alert you while away that something is amiss. Xfinity has launched, in limited markets, their version of a remote security network system that can integrate almost all plugged-in or wired appliances in your home. Google’s acquisition of Nest is one step closer to owning that market. The question everyone should be asking is: Whether a computer or networking engineer is better suited than a professional HVAC technician to control the heating and cooling systems of our customers? Well, are they?
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