A Glimpse into our Connected Everything Existence

by Jeff Wiener on July 15, 2014

Truth be told there’s nothing new about Wi-Fi connected devices around the home, things like Nest Lab’s Learning Thermostat or LG’s smart light bulbs or a smart refrigerator, but nevertheless there are still remarkably few times when one really gets a glimpse of how this entire Internet of Things really works, how all this will come together to form our connected everything future.

Recently Nest Labs announced that it has launched a developer program to allow third-party apps to interact with the company’s Learning Thermostat and Protect smoke detector hardware, changes that now allow these devices to communicate with other applications to provide almost completely autonomous control of one’s in-home functions and appliances.

While this is not an endorsement or review of these products themselves, when this story came across my desk it was the first time (outside science fiction perhaps) that I truly got a glimpse of the home of the future, one where everything communicated with everything else, operating in ways to maximize efficiency and comfort levels all the while taking into consideration our habits and preferences, all free of any dedicated user oversight.

As Engadget’s Jon Fingis explains, the company has already entered into several strategic partnerships to expand this connected everything reality, meaning many new features are now, or will soon be, available to users. For instance, certain garage doors can now communicate with your Nest thermostat, effectively letting your house know when you’re home, while connecting to Mercedes-Benz’ in-vehicle technology will allow users to check in on the house while still on the road.

Further, Logitech’s Harmony Ultimate television remote control can lower the heat while you’re watching a movie, and Jawbone’s high tech Up24 fitness tracker can tell Nest when you’re awake.

But its not just devices connecting with Nest’s innovative in-home devices either, this new developer initiative will make it a two-way street when it comes to communication. In fact, under the right conditions Nest’s products will be able to control other gadgets as well. For instance, if the Protect smoke alarm detects smoke it will tell certain smart light bulbs to flash red and have a particular phone app text your neighbours to alert them of potential danger.

Beyond that, Whirlpool has partnered with Nest by connecting this equipment to its washers and dryers, allowing the thermostat to delay the start of a cycle to avoid peak energy consumption periods or to have the machine keep your clothes fresh until you get home.

In the end I’ll say that the names of the products really don’t matter, as one day everything will operate like this, but the picture that I see forming here is one of radical interconnectivity, a connected reality where smart devices create one cohesive framework to tackle all those mundane things in our lives; one that not only learns and responds to our preferences, but adapts to our changing needs, and does so in a way that has safety, security, and cost savings in mind.

It’s a brave new world folks, and this is only the beginning.

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