Monday, November 04, 2013

Barriers to home automation

You have 2 paths that I can see to get the autonomous home to become a reality: industry committee agreement or gorilla creates defacto protocol. Industry committees are the slowest method of getting a standard but, as you know from history, are the best method to get an initial core set of companies to come to an agreement and then enlist the support of other companies to embrace the emerging standard.  Takes some time but it creates a market leader in the form of a committee.  The gorilla is the other path and always the fastest.  Not the most fair and not always the best method but when the gorilla moves, the rest of the market takes notice.

Imagine if Apple were to define a protocol for communicating between all system in the house.  They would also bring out various software controls and an intelligent "hub" to which everything communicated.  The iOS world would simply be an access means for modifying the settings and logic to be applied by the hub.  This would be the perfect gorilla for this marketplace.  In fact, I have been wondering why Tim Cook is so blind to the obvious opportunity.

If I were a gambling man, I would bet the industry committee, slow as it is, beats Apple to the punch.  Motorola might have been a possibility but Google has ripped out their guts and left a shell.  Honeywell has the controller chops but not the consumer visibility to make it happen.  Look for them to help form the initial industry committee.  Nest?  Committee.  Johnson Controls?  Committee.    Sharp, Samsung, Mitsubishi?  Committee.  

All we need right now is the leader to emerge to help form the committee and get the specification started.  Any volunteers?