Google in the Running for the Connected World

Published on January 31, 2014

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Google in the Running for the Connected World

By: Jordan Manser, Marketing Intern

The IoT will allow everything to connect and communicate

The internet of things (IoT) has been a hot topic in recent months. In fact, Quartz goes as far to say that 2014 will be the year for the IoT. The IoT is a trend by which everything around us will connect to the internet. In a perfect IoT world, even ordinary things like beds and coffee pots would have internet capabilities, allowing the devices around us to monitor and eventually anticipate our actions.

In “How the ‘Internet of Things’ will Replace the Web”, Quartz’s second article in an IoT series, they discuss what Amber Case, a researcher for a mapping company called Esri, dubs “invisible buttons”. The article states, “An invisible button is simply an area in space that is ‘clicked’ when a person or object… moves into that physical space. It could be as small as a two-inch square on top of a conventional credit card reader to enable payments, or as large as a room, which might want to know that you have entered or left so that it can turn on or off the lights.”

Invisible buttons have the ability to do much more than just turn things on and off. For example, in a previous blog post we discussed Apple’s iBeacon which detects and monitors indoor location. Placed inside a physical space, these small beacons transmit data over short distances to iPhones and other iBeacons using BLE. Currently, this technology is primarily used in the retail sector, but has the potential to be used in virtually any market. Beacon technology, which determines the location of a person or object in complex indoor environments, could be programmed for use in connected homes which would foster the growth of the IoT.  Although the IoT is still in the early stages, it’s likely that Bluetooth will play a role in its development and enable the connected world.

A world where everything around us is connected and communicating may seem like science fiction, but companies such as Google are certainly getting the ball rolling. According to a Forbes article, “What Does Google's Purchase of Nest Mean For The Internet of Things?”, Google recently acquired Nest Labs, Inc. for 3.2 billion dollars. Nest, known for the best-selling Nest Thermostat, reinvents ordinary devices found in every home. After manually programming the The Nest Learning Thermostat for a period of time, the device eventually learns your heating preferences and programs itself. It can also be controlled from your smartphone. This purchase allows Google to gain a major foothold in the home automation market, instantly making the tech giant a strong competitor.

Home automation may just be the start for Google. Establishing itself in the market early on allows for an easier transition to the ultimate prize, the connected world. If the future consists of invisible buttons and everything around us is connected, communicating and learning our behaviors and preferences, Google’s move is smart since Nest is considered a leader when it comes to the IoT. With Google taking bold steps into the connected world, it will be interesting to see if Microsoft or Apple makes a similar move. Currently the OS of the connected world is still up for grabs. However, with Google getting a head start, it could position itself to be the operating system of the future.