Smart Move

Written by The Financial Express | Updated: May 29 2014, 09:58am hrs
With Apple likely to unveil its smart-home system at the Worldwide Developers Conference next month, the stage could be set for a clash with rival Google for the nascent market. Smart-homeshousehold devices, ranging from air-conditioning to security, that can be controlled with your smartphoneare a market for the future and the two tech companies are keen on establishing themselves firmly in it. Now, Google sought the first-movers advantage with its acquisition of Nest, the smart thermostat-maker, but Apples plan is to partner device-makers initially whose products will use its system and will be retailed in its stores. What is interesting is the market offers, by far, the best opportunity for vendor lock-init isnt very likely that one would replace the smart devices in ones home, powered by either Android or iOS, as often as one could replace the phone that controls them. And given that the two companies have sparred in the past on many things, from patents to map services, a likely scenario is indeed the two companies going head-to-head to dominate the market.

But, at the same time, there is also a great opportunity to Apple and Google to collaborate in Apples strategy for entry. Apple is assuming a role that is unfamiliar to itso far, it has been a maker of products, not a retailer. And Google already has Nest while it is looking to acquire Dropcam, mobile-controlled video-cams that can be used for home surveillanceand both products could use any expansion in retail outreach.