Stroll through any box electronics or homestore nowadays and you’ll see the beginnings of the Internet of Things (IoT) – formal slang for the coming world of interconnected everyday devices. Best Buy is selling a smartphone-controlled garage-door openers and smartphone-enabled deadbolts as just a few examples.
Some true action on the IoT front took place this week at Europe’s IFA tradefair, held this year in Berlin, Germany. It concluded today and is touted as “the world’s leading tradeshow for consumer electronics and home appliances.” German engineering is always front and center at the show.
Early reports out of the show point to several highlights:
- A robotic vacuum cleaner from British sensation Dyson
- A growing horde of smartwatch competitors, led by Samsung’s Galaxy Gear S (Apple had its own homegrown Watch rollout concurrently in California)
- TVs with convex screens to better mimic the cinematic experience
- A new Sony glass to compete with Google Glass in the market of aug-reality
- Appliances for the interconnected home
About No. 5: Bosch and its partner Siemens debuted their first Home Connect oven and dishwasher, which should be available before the 2014 holidays. The Home Connect app, announced last spring, will run on iPhone and Droid and control compatible devices through the app.
The important part of this news is to track the competition for the overall IoT standard. Home Connect is an open standard that Bosch-Siemens developed. Both brands use it, and curiously, it supports other competitive brands. Bosch and Siemens in fact passed on the Apple HomeKit connection standard in favor of their own proprietary system.
The Home Connect appliances are definitely cool. The engineering quality is crazy good – you’d expect nothing less from brands like Bosch and Siemens. But in terms of the IoT, they still only talk to each other. We’ll see in the coming year whether other manufactures develop for the Home Connect standard, or whether Google Nest, or Apple HomeKit or other emerging platforms can successfully attract brands into their big tent.
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