Tag Archives: ThreadGroup

Google’s Secret Android OS To Rule The Internet Of Things

See updates fresh from Google I/O conf added at the bottom

Google is reportedly developing a new operating system (OS) under the Android brand, aimed at running low-powered devices (as low as 64 or even 32 MB RAM), which are very common in today’s connected world. If the new operating system, code-named ‘Brillo’, gains similar traction as the Android brand, it may become the engine running the multitude of connected devices now looking for a common platform. Google may also offer it free of charge for OEMs to increase penetration.

This is not the first indication that Google wants to be the framework that drives the Internet of Things (IoT). Last year Google initiated the Thread Group, an open consortium of industry leaders which by now has over 80 members, with the goal of defining the communications protocol for the Internet of Things. Last month the Thread Group also partnered with the ZigBee Alliance, the alliance behind the popular ZigBee open wireless standard for IoT, to support interoperability and enable the ZigBee Cluster Library to run over Thread networks.

th-test1

Google also promotes IoT on the research front. Last December Google launched an open IoT research program called the “Open Web of Things”, to encourage research around burning topics in IoT such as security, privacy and protocols.

Another interesting angle that I bet Google will explore is the integration with its latest big data cloud offering to enable processing, storage and analytics of the massive amounts of data generated by the IoT, enhancing its cloud’s IoT solutions.

What exactly is the new ‘Brillo’ OS? How does it relate to the Thread Group’s protocol? How will that integrate with Google’s cloud offering? We’ll probably get more information in a couple of days at Google I/O conference.

1311765722_picons03 Follow Dotan on Twitter!

————————————————————————————————–

Update: Today at Google I/O conference we got the official announcement of Brillo OS. There wasn’t much more detail than the above, but one note was made on developer tools for voice commands, so people could “order” their devices with natural language. And here’s the developer website for Project Brillo.

More importantly, together with Brillo Google announced Weave, which seems like yet another standard for the common language of the Internet of Things. With Weave communications protocol, events can be defined by one device and followed by others to trigger custom actions. We’ll have to wait for the full detail on that, to understand how Weave is different from the multitude of other standards.

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Internet of Things

Google Extends Its Internet of Things Strategy, Offers Open Research Grants

A few days ago Google announced the launch of the Open Web of Things, an open innovation and research program around the IoT. As part of the new initiative Google published a call for research proposals on IoT with focus on three main areas:

  1. user interface and application development
  2. privacy & security
  3. systems & protocols research

Google offers the elected participants grants, as well as access to hardware, software and systems from Google. Proposal submission is due next month and kick-off expected coming Spring.

Google has had a rough year 2014. Just this week JPMorgan lowered estimates for Google’s revenues, and shortly after Google stock hit a 52-week low. One of the main reasons for that is that Google’s traditional source of revenue, the web search ads, seems to shrink with the transition from desktop to mobile and related disruptors (such as Amazon and Facebook).

As traditional sources of revenue shrink, Google is investing in developing new sources of revenue, aligned with the emerging trends. Google has been promoting a clear strategy around the Internet of Things. Google’s strategy has several tiers, aimed at tackling IoT from several directions, both horizontally (standards, protocols) and vertically (by use cases).

Part of Google’s IoT strategy is done through internal development such as Google Glass devices and Google Now app.

Another significant part of Google’s IoT strategy is done through M&A, most notably the acquisition of smart thermostat manufacturer Nest, which subsequently acquired Dropcam and the “Smart Home” startup Revolv (and subsequently shut down Revolv’s product line in a somewhat controversial move).

Google also places significance in open collaboration with the community through open standardization such as the Thread Group open alliance and open projects such as the Physical Web.

It has been a hectic year for Google, with many changes and uncertainties, and transition into new areas. Google is betting on The Internet of Things as one of the future directions for the company, and has been investing seriously in that direction. It would be interesting to see what plan holds for 2015.

1311765722_picons03 Follow Dotan on Twitter!

1 Comment

Filed under Internet of Things, IoT

Samsung shifts gear on IoT and the Smart Home and acquires SmartThings for $200M

Samsung has a clear interest in the Internet of Things and the Smart Home. With its vast range of consumer devices it is only natural for it to connect it all together and let you control it via your Galaxy smartphone, tablet or even smart watch (Gear).

samsung-connected-home-2014-04-02-01[1]

On CES2014 (Consumer Electronics Show) earlier this year Samsung shared its vision of One Service to Rule Them All, and introduced its new Smart Home service:

in a move that could change the home forever, Samsung announced a new Smart Home service that puts people in control of their devices and home appliances with one application that connects them all.

But how can you presume to control everything if you can’t talk the common language? This is where Samsung started exploring emerging standards. First Samsung teamed up with Intel, Dell and others to form the Open Interconnect Consortium (OIC), then When Google came with its own Thread Group initiative it jumped this wagon as well. As I stated on my last post, it is yet unclear how the different initiatives will relate to one another, so Samsung hedged its bets on the open standards front.

While standard bodies battle for domination, Samsung doesn’t wait and makes a parallel move on the platform front. In this $200M-worth move, Samsung announced acquiring SmartThings, a US-based start-up developing a smartphone app which enables users to monitor and control their domestic affairs even when they are out of their home. It is also an open platform, which encourages the developer community and device makes to create new applications and expand the range of uses and smart devices.

img-android-smartsetup[1]

Though the developer community is somewhat concerned by the impact of the acquisition on the platform’s openness, SmartThings founder and CEO Alex Hawkinson ensures in his blog that “SmartThings will remain SmartThings”. Judging from Samsung’s moves with open standards and open platforms (such as the data and sensor platforms for health monitoring), it seems like Samsung embraces openness as its main path for market penetration, which is a positive indication for the future of SmartThings.

Samsung seems to bet heavily on the Internet of Things and the Smart Home. David Eun, head of Samsung’s Open Innovation Center, said that “Connected devices have long been strategically important to Samsung” and that more investments, acquisitions and partnerships around the internet of things were planned. In this rate, we won’t have to wait long for their next move.

2 Comments

Filed under Internet of Things, IoT, Smart Home

Will the Internet of Things talk Googlish?

Things definitely change fast in the landscape of the Internet of Things. On my last blog post less than 2 weeks ago I discussed standardization efforts in IoT and covered the announcement of a new consortium called Open Interconnect Consortium (OIC), led by Samsung, Intel, Dell and others.

And just a week later we got the new heavy gun in the field: Google announced, through its recently acquired company Nest, a new industry group called Thread, together with Samsung, ARM Holdings and others, to define the communications standard for the smart home. The new standard is said to solve reliability, security, power and compatibility issues for connecting products around the home.

Thread-Group

This announcement joins Microsoft’s announcement from beginning of this month about joining AllSeen Alliance as the 51st member, which was followed by last week’s announcement of 7 other new members, making AllSeen Alliance 58 members strong to date (on my last blog post earlier this month they were only 51, just think about it…).

Google’s new consortium joins other industry consortia. How do these different initiatives relate to one another? This question becomes even more interesting when noting that Samsung is a member of both OIC and Thread Group (see footnote), and that Apple’s list of HomeKit partners includes Broadcom (another member of OIC) and Haier (member of AllSeen Alliance).

It may be that in these early stages organizations are reluctant to bet on a single horse and distribute the risk across different consortia. It may also be that some of these initiatives are not really competitive but rather complementary. Reading through the statement of the new Thread Group seems that they target a new networking protocol (to supersede WiFi, Bluetooth and the likes) for IoT to be more energy-efficient and scalable, which may be complementary to the mandate declared by OIC which seems to deal with higher layers. But as statements are very high level and tend to change, we will have to patiently wait and see how it plays out.

——————————————————

* Update: in a subsequent post I explored Samsung’s play in IoT in greater detail. read more here.

1311765722_picons03 Follow Dotan on Twitter!

5 Comments

Filed under Internet of Things, IoT, Smart Home