I first started hearing about “The Internet of Things” more than a year ago. At the time, I winced at this clumsy amalgam of words, hoping that it might be replaced with something more grown-up sounding. Oh well… After the term went global following last month’s Google acquisition of Nest Labs, what once seemed to be an underground tech term now has a permanent seat at the jargon table.
All of the lexicon talk aside, this very public business venture shines a huge spotlight on the growing interest in internet-connected home products. Put aside your fears of “big brother” Google selling your data to the NSA and think about the free marketing that your company is getting from two very visible brands basically promoting your business.
The custom integration channel always has suffered from its relative obscurity, having been a niche, word-of-mouth business for its entire existence. Now you have the chance to piggyback on inquiries from curiosity consumers fascinated with Nest and other products that allow true remote control of the home, and even change to suit their routines.
After RS blogger and custom integrator Heather Sidorowicz posted her opinion piece about the Google/Nest deal, a maelstrom of reader comments followed there and within our LinkedIn group. For every “Google is pure evil” comment, there were industry folks who saw this deal as a potential opportunity for our business.
Sidorowicz started the debate at the conclusion of her post. “Some say the connected home will never exist, for there is no one way for devices to communicate, no one player pushing the concept forward. Today, the story has changed. Instead of creating technology to sell products (TV manufacturers I’m looking at you), we have two powerhouse companies filled with free thinkers who want to make our lives better, and sell more products because of it…Needless to say, as a custom AV integrator, watch, listen, and pay attention to this partnership. They have the power to change the course of the AV world and the connected home as we know it.”
In a separate post on the topic, Netsertive’s Brendan Morrissey warned integrators to be ready for a wave of new interest in technology by creating a web presence that helps them “get found” more easily in their local markets.
Morrissey said that with the proliferation of smartphones and tablets, consumers at all levels of income are becoming comfortable with sophisticated technologies that give them access to and control of their homes. “Home automation is the next natural step,” he said.
I agree that while consumers wait for new products powered by Google, last month’s headlines provide heightened awareness of home automation by consumers hungry to learn more.