Home Automation Solution Providers Applaud Report Of Nest Platform Developers Moving To Google

Channel players in the home automation space are cheering Google parent company Alphabet's move to absorb several platform engineers from smart thermostat manufacturer Nest.

Nest’s platform team will become part of Google, and work with Android chief Hiroshi Lockheimer in order to create a more "unified Internet of Things" platform, according to a report in Fortune. Palo Alto, Calif.-based Nest declined to comment on the report.

"It's about time ... when Google acquired Nest, there was a long period of time where it seemed that Nest would be absorbed," said Chris Compton, founder of Smart Home HQ, a Newport, Ky.-based service provider specializing in home automation. "I think now that Apple is releasing products on HomeKit, this move makes sense for Google from a competitive standpoint and allows them to be more flexible."

[Related: 10 New Internet of Things Products That Changed The Game In August]

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Historically, Nest and Google have been on a separate platform path for IoT. Google has created its own set of home automation devices, including Google Home, its recently-unveiled voice-activated connected home product and competitor to Amazon’s Echo assistant.

Beyond products, Google, which bought Nest in 2014 in a $3.2 billion deal, has done other work with IoT, including its embedded OS, Brillo, for IoT hardware, and its communications platform for IoT devices, Weave, to increase smart device interoperability.

"It didn't seem that Google was integrating Nest into their ecosystem, and then last year Google came out with their own Hub, and Brillo and Weave to integrate their own standards," said Compton. "With Nest developers moving to Google, it makes sense that Google is making this connected home push in their own name."

Nest, meanwhile, has been in the middle of restructuring over the past year, with the company's co-founder and CEO Tony Fadell stepping down in June. The company has partnerships in place with smart device companies such as Philips and Belkin, and a full lineup of smart products like connected smoke alarm Nest Protect and surveillance tool Nest Cam.

Michael Oh, CTO and founder of TSP, a Boston-based solution provider that specializes in home automation, said the move makes sense for both Google and Nest. Oh's company works with vendors like Savant and Lutron to build and implement home automation designs. Oh said that the home automation segment was an area of growth for his company, and will account for around 30 percent of TSP's business in 2017.

"From my perspective it makes sense as a business ... ultimately the writing was on the wall," he said. "Google needs to come up with a coherent strategy for IoT and home automation."

Smart Home HQ's Compton, whose company provides home automation services like advanced programming and connected security capabilities, said if Nest further integrates with Google, channel players in the home automation space will face fewer hurdles in helping customers connect and maintain various smart products in their houses.

"Anytime that you have vendors playing nice together, it creates an integrated, better experience for the end user, and makes it easier to create services and solutions for clients, without having to jump through hoops," Compton said.