We have always considered integration between companies as a key influencer for the successful growth of the smart home market. As predicted, this factor is being recognised more so than ever by other global brands that are increasingly enabling integration amongst their devices.
Collaboration will allow multiple devices to work with a range of systems. As a result, there may not be one a leader in smart home technology but different brand leaders in specific fields such as security, heating and entertainment. Products that are only compatible with a singular operating system will no longer be financially viable as customers are more likely to buy devices that work with a variety of other systems.
One company who has noted this change is Amazon. Amazon has an ambitious plan for its artificial intelligence system and has already begun partnering with a variety of hardware and software manufacturers. Almost every week Amazon adds additional functionalities to Alexa and its growing range of Echo smart home products, making the system work with nearly any company who uses its open-source API.
Most recently, Amazon has partnered with Ford to enable certain vehicles to open and close their garage door without the need for a remote. Many have speculated that this partnership indicates a more comprehensive entry into the smart home space later this year.
Google-owned Nest is also following suit, thanks to increased pressure from tech giants, the company announced earlier this month that it’s made its Thread networking protocol open source (aptly named OpenThread). This means that the technology used in Nest products is more broadly available, integrating with third-party products, software, and services, and accelerates the amount of devices capable of connecting to its system.
Despite the Thread operating system already having numerous partners, Nest notes the benefits of an open source operating system potentially opening up the technology to “millions of existing devices on the market”. However, this only works if the manufactures choose to update to Thread.
With the new protocol and integration, Nest devices have an increased number of functionalities. These include the ability to turn your lights off when your Nest product notices the house is empty, or close your blinds when it’s nighttime. These perks are designed to make owning a Nest device feel less like purchasing a standalone product and more like buying into a complete ecosystem.
This is a sign of how Nest is changing its future outlook regarding the type of role it should play in the wider automated home market. This change also illustrates the significant impact integration has had over the smart home market and its continued influence over future developments.